In response to recent controversy, the developer of Pokemon Go, Niantic, has shed some light on the decision-making process behind the changes made to the game’s Remote Raid Pass system. Last month, Niantic introduced alterations that included an increase in price and a limit of five pass uses per day. These changes disappointed many fans, prompting Niantic to address the situation and provide insights into their reasoning.
Michael Steranka, the director of Pokemon Go, recently spoke with GameSpot about the adjustments. He acknowledged that the decision to add limitations and adjust pricing for Remote Raid Passes was an incredibly difficult one for the team. However, Steranka explained that it was a necessary step based on their observations of player behavior, which had deviated from their envisioned experience for Pokemon Go.
Internal data revealed that certain players were engaging in a behavior that was “completely antithetical” to the intended gameplay. Some individuals were participating in an excessive number of legendary raids within a single day without ever leaving their homes. Steranka described this as behavior that went against what makes Pokemon Go special and different from other games.
Although Steranka admitted that the changes to the mechanics were “incredibly painful,” he stressed the importance of returning the game to its original vision. He acknowledged being one of the “top 99% users” of Remote Raid Passes himself, further emphasizing the difficulty of the decision. The goal was to restore the key components of Pokemon Go that are tied to physical locations in the real world, fostering player interaction, collaboration, and the formation of local communities.
These comments from Steranka were part of a larger discussion regarding Pokemon Go’s upcoming Shadow Raids, which are set to commence on May 22. Shadow Raids will introduce Shadow Pokemon to Gym Raids, with Shadow Mewtwo being the first five-star Shadow Raid available on May 26-27. Notably, it is worth mentioning that Shadow Raids cannot be accessed using a Remote Raid Pass.
While Steranka acknowledged that there may still be some criticism and discontent from players, he expressed hope that people would eventually remember and appreciate what initially drew them to Pokemon Go. Looking forward, he revealed that 2023 would be their most ambitious year yet, promising exciting experiences within the game. Niantic aims to demonstrate their dedication to creating immersive and enjoyable encounters, hoping that players will be enthusiastic about trying them out.
For those interested, Pokemon Go is currently available for free on iOS and Android devices, allowing players to embark on their Pokemon-catching adventures.
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