Less than two months ago, a game called Pokemon GO hit the app store that took the world by storm and shattered records. It immediately climbed to the top of the app store and became the highest grossing phone app of all time. But what about now? That now feels so long ago and I definitely see less people out playing it and even less people talking about it.
Was the spike in popularity due only to the games relevance in nostalgia and pop culture and its worn off now because people have had time to actually experience the game? Or have game changing updates come through that have just discouraged many casual and hardcore players from continuing to put in the time required to play this game?
I think there are several reasons why Pokemon GO has fallen off. A big one that matters to me is the scaling experience system associated with the leveling. Remember when you used to be able to level up 2 times a day? It seems like an eternity has passed since the last time I have leveled up at all, even with constant play.
For example, I am level 22 and I need 100,000 experience to get to level 23. As a point of reference, in the countless hours I have put into this game I have only earned 370,000 experience total. The game demands more of you as you get to a higher level because level up rewards are coming less often so you need to spend real money to get items or spend an absurd amount of time and effort taking and maintaining gyms with a squad of players every day. The game just requires too much from you when you get to a higher level and it reminds me of an MMO (games like World of Warcraft) grind without the payout since Pokemon GO does not really have objectives or goals.
I think the other reason main reason why less people are playing Pokemon GO is a direct response to the interactions between Niantic and the Pokemon GO community. Namely the whole tracking system controversy. In the early stages of the game, there was a great feature that allowed you to track Pokemon that were nearby and really added to the game. But, when the tracking became bugged, it remained buggy for a while.
Niantic was not communicating with the community what their plans for the tracking were when an update came out and the tracking was simply removed. This outraged many fans because it was the only in-game way to find specific Pokemon and to follow this up. Niantic also removed all third party tracking systems from the app store and internet. To this day Niantic has not instituted a new tracking system and since the third party apps were taken down tracking is still not possible over a month later.
Pokemon GO just does not feel like the same game anymore. The sense of wonder that came with discovering new Pokemon has been long gone since at this point most of us have seen everything that spawns in our region with the exception of a few exceeding rare ones. Couple this with the frustration of seeing that rare Pokemon nearby but their being no possible way for you to track it and you're left with a game that has just become a frustrating time sink.
The only redeemable quality about this game and the only reason I still play it occasionally is the social aspect. It gives an excuse to get some exercise, go for a walk, and hang out with friends while still doing something. Yea, I'll keep playing Pokemon GO, but the days of spending multiple hours a week hanging out by lures are long gone for me.