Pokemon Go First Anniversary: the Good and Bad

DoThe Best
By DoThe Best July 3, 2017 12:45

Pokemon Go First Anniversary: the Good and Bad

This time last year, we were a few days away from Pokemon Go temporary taking over the world. It brought people out of their homes and then made them stare at their phones, all while attempting to catch ’em all. The fact that it wasn’t officially available in India for almost half a year barely stopped anyone from catching the craze here, including those of us at Gadgets 360.

As the initial excitement subsided a month or two in, players turned away because of Pokemon Go’s inherent grind mechanics, annoyed with the technical glitches, or just having gotten enough of the childhood nostalgia fix that had lured them to it in the first place. With Pokemon Go nearing its first anniversary, we decided to take a look at how things have changed. We fired up the game on an iPhone 6 Plus to take an in-depth look once again, and this is what we found.

GOOD: A more stable connection to the Niantic servers
Pokemon Go is an always-online game that’s deliberately designed to be played on the move. That means you’re dealing with cellular data for the most part, which has its fair share of problems in India. Combine that with the app’s own issues, which had trouble reconnecting or sometimes flat out failed to connect to the servers, and you were frequently left frustrated as an early adopter.

We faced these issues countless times during our playtime in the first month after launch, with the only solution being to force close and relaunch the app, and then hope that it would work.

It seems Niantic has improved on this aspect in the past 12 months, as we didn’t face any server issues while playing Pokemon Go in the past week. Though the game still takes 10 – 20 seconds to load, it doesn’t serve an error or be randomly stuck.

BAD: Random crashes are still a thing
Unlike the server situation, Niantic hasn’t been able to iron out the random crashes that have plagued Pokemon Go from day one. The game still randomly crashes at any point, be it while entering or exiting a gym, navigating the settings menu, or even just switching back into the app after checking a notification somewhere else.

For what it’s worth, we didn’t face any crashes while catching Pokemon Go. Last year after launch, the screen would often freeze and you’d basically have to give up on the session, force close the app and then relaunch and wait for it to load, which could take seconds to minutes depending on the network connectivity.

That Niantic hasn’t managed to quash all bugs since launch is not surprising, given how it handled the initial launch, but that doesn’t make it any less unacceptable.

GOOD: Finding nearby Pokemon isn’t as much of a task
Finding Pokemon that were shown in your nearby column in the first month was more or less up to chance, since the app only showed the Pokemon symbol, and how close it was. Niantic then broke the feature completely with an update that made bird footprints – an indicator of nearby Pokemon – useless.
Now though, the nearby column has two sections: one called sightings, which requires you to roam around and be lucky, and the other which shows Pokemon with an image of a nearby landmark. You can even click on it, and the app will then zoom out on the map to a 2D PoV to show where it can be found.

This makes it much easier to find Pokemon, and it (somewhat) helps make up for all the third-party Pokemon finders that were taken down by Niantic. For what it’s worth, this feature was introduced late last year itself, but it’s still worth highlighting for those who stopped playing after the early craze.

 

DoThe Best
By DoThe Best July 3, 2017 12:45
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