Home Gaming Pokémon GO removes features, kills tracking websites and upsets everybody

Pokémon GO removes features, kills tracking websites and upsets everybody

2 min read

Pokemon Go removes tracking functionality

Pokémon GO has been riding a wave of cultural popularity, but it’s the weeks now nearing a month after launch that are seemingly going to decide the future of the smartphone geocaching game. In the first major update to the title, Niantic has sought to simplify, streamline and enhance the Pokémon trainer experience. You can change clothes, transfer Pokémon easily and more. You can’t however, track Pokémon anymore. At all.

The three-step glitch has been present in the game for the past couple of weeks, transforming that “Nearby” tab on the bottom left of the game into a useless screensaver. The system used to allow you to track Pokémon nearby, with escalating numbers of footprints signifying the distance you’d have to travel to find them. Instead of fixing this though, Niantic has chosen to just remove it entirely. Which wouldn’t be as big an issue had they not also killed any third-party support helping you track rare Pokémon.

Pokevision, the website which would dynamically pull data from Niantic and populate your surroundings with the positions (and times) of Pokémon around you, was shut down shortly after. Its creator, Yangcheng Liu, revealed that the service would be shut down indefinitely to comply with orders from Niantic directly, after CEO John Hanke called it cheating. It’s clear that Niantic could simply be closing any website using its API against terms of service, with other services outright charging for the functionality Pokevision offered.

So it may be a blanket sweep of the entire idea, but Liu makes an excellent point in light of the update that accompanied the closure.

And players are already voicing their anger at the weekend move. While some have simply voiced their disapproval via social media, others have begun seeking out refunds for in-game purchases. Surprisingly, many are getting their way too – which could just open up the flood gates for all sorts of issues for Niantic.

And frankly, it’s something the developer needs to address fast. Because as is, Pokémon GO is now (more than ever) a game of chance. Without the ability to even spit ball how far away a particular Pokémon is (or judge if you’re even walking in the right direction), hunting becomes far less captivating. And if your main hook starts sinking, it’s not long before it takes the ship with it.

Last Updated: August 1, 2016


  1. Ottokie

    August 1, 2016 at 08:10

    So they “fixed” the step system bug by removing it completely?

    Even in the Pokemon gameboy games we are still shown an area where pokemon spawn. Walking around blindly put a lot more suspense and feeling of achievement int he game. But people are gonna be peeved when that Dragonite close by despawns and they could not find it.


    • VampyreSquirrel

      August 1, 2016 at 09:04

      Yeah, I don’t agree with them removing it, and then closing those websites down.


      • Ottokie

        August 1, 2016 at 09:12

        The dev behind Pokemon Go might still be a little wet behind the ears to be able to take actions that will not hurt financially.

        The feedback and communication from Niantic is on par with Telkom


      • Matthew Holliday

        August 1, 2016 at 09:21

        This is entirely what it boils down to.
        I would be fine with shutting down pokevision etc, if their own search function worked somewhat at all.


    • Matthew Holliday

      August 1, 2016 at 09:19

      remove the problem, problem solved.
      classic developer logic.

      Starting to understand alot of what the Ingress players mean when they talk about Niantic.


  2. HairyEwok

    August 1, 2016 at 10:13

    I’ve played many Pokemon games, and in ALL of them you have a pokedex which tells you where you can catch certain pokemon. That website was like a linked pokedex system.


  3. Dane

    August 1, 2016 at 10:18

    Pokemon GOne


  4. Craig "Crios" Boonzaier

    August 1, 2016 at 11:06

    Any idea of when it will legally release in SA.


  5. Spy Master Tokashi

    August 1, 2016 at 14:32

    By the looks of it. Niantic is making big technical mistakes and if they do not fix them asap, they will lose a lot of potential income from players.

    Once the excitement drops below the frustration levels, people will just uninstall and move on. This game is one of the crappiest mobile games out there, only reason why they are so successful is because of the Pokemon theme they are riding on.

    Getting the idea they are banking on the quick cashin method and fix it later … and piss off millions of players.


  6. Michael Andrew Tomlin

    August 1, 2016 at 16:10

    I used Pokévision to help because of the tracking issue. Always was frustrated to see a silhouette in my nearby and try to track it only to spend 15 minutes going random directions and have it dissapear. Now they take away the one thing that helped while I was out walking around because they couldn’t get their act together. I’m done till they fix it, or they allow third parties to help till they do. Now some me say it was cheating, but when the game first came out and Nearby worked, I always used the nearby. It wasn’t until Niantic screwed it up, and I lost out on a lot of rare spawns because of never being able to find those spawns I was excited about, that I started looking for a solution. So I got the app, so I could keep an eye on what was spawning around me, and still walk to where they spawned. Not cheating, unless you were using something that let you play on your PC and just let you get the best spawns.


  7. The Order of the Banana

    August 1, 2016 at 18:13

    lol, it’s always hilarious when a developer goes full retard.


  8. WollyZA

    August 2, 2016 at 09:16

    There is actually a way to track the Pokemon in the app. If you look at the 3rd picture bottom right on the nearby area. Squirtel is selected, just above in the road you will see a line that is busy dissapearing. The box pulses basically an expansion of the white box area. Much like the “scan” that pulses from your character. When this is pulsating green you are heading in the right direction. When it pulses white you are heading in the wrong direction.

    Yeah it is still very vague and basically impossible to know immediately which direction to go in. But it does work.

    The 3 feet system needs to be fixed and added back to the main game. They should have proper patch notes available so that players at least know what is going on. I.E

    – Feet tracking system removed (Temporarily due to tracking issues, to be added back to main client once fixed)

    or something of that sort.


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