Niantic recently has been caught under fire for changing some specific aspects of Pokemon Go, like the tracking, and apparently you no longer receive XP when you have a good throw (I've heard this in passing). While I am not hugely involved in any community of Pokemon players, I just felt this was an extremely depressing development in the Pokemon Go saga. Niantic removed some pretty big aspects to Pokemon Go, and some users are even demanding refunds because of the lack of tracking. In addition, some people reported their accounts were reset back to level 1 and they couldn't fix it at all. This is why we can't have nice things, isn't it?
It feels as though the same thing my generation hates has now touched something many of us hold dear: nostalgia. I wrote an article about the addictive qualities of Pokemon Go, and many people (some politely, some not), also reminded me that Pokemon Go is nostalgic for them. This is also true and something I also completely forgot about. I still have my old Gameboy color, as well as all of my Pokemon cartridges that still work. I have a binder full of Pokemon cards, filled with Pokemon stickers all over the covers from my childhood. Nintendo has managed to permanently brand our brains with Pokemon nostalgia because of our childhoods. We are okay with that. My generation, the millennials, love nostalgia, it seems. Even on Facebook, I see a "You Know You're a 90s Kid When..." meme every other day, or I see a "90s Kid Starter Pack" meme - or just about any meme related to the 90s. We miss our childhood because we loved it. We miss being a little oblivious to the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton fights that now so often grace our Facebook timelines.
Niantic removed PokeVision and the other trackers, in my opinion, for no other reason than the same thing that has been plaguing my generation from the start: greed.
The more you play, the more money they make. All the people who live in rural areas won't have a choice but to buy more Pokeballs and lures and incense, because there's virtually no Pokestops anywhere. The more you play, and the more you wander and go about your daily business, the more location data they can sell. You're going to a bike shop? You can probably expect someone will be sold that data and you'll see bike ads come up somewhere. It is a free app, after all, and they want to make money somehow.
But people don't dedicate hours and hours of time to playing a Pokemon game. It is how they make money, but we have to make money as well. We need to work, and do other things than play Pokemon. I like to play it, but there's quite literally days I do not even eat regularly. There's days I'm awake since 8 AM and go to bed at 1 AM. Our days are long, and the Pokemon we catch are a little bit of a bright spot in our day.
Niantic, you don't own Pokemon. We do. Even Nintendo doesn't own Pokemon. We own it with our love of it for other reasons than money. We love it for the feelings it stirs up, for the nostalgia we experience, and for our books and books of Pokemon cards. We own it for our stuffed Pikachus we had as kids, and our favorite Pokemon we used to catch on our Gameboys when we were ten. We own it for adopting your game, you made, and you're benefiting off of our nostalgia and our love for a series.
We don't need your game to love Pokemon. All we need is our stuffed Pikachus, our 90s trading cards, and our old gameboys. The same way we raised up your game, we can take it down.
Listen to your userbase. We appreciate Pokemon, not you. Our loyalty is to our nostalgia.
Not your greed.