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12 July 2023

Image of the Pokemon Go logo.

Pokémon Go developer Niantic Labs has faced frustration and disappointment from fans after making and subsequently reversing accessibility improvements in the game. On June 27, Niantic made Pokémon Go fully compatible with Campfire, its social app designed to connect players in-game, and doubled the catch radius from 40 to 80 meters. These changes were celebrated as positive steps towards improving accessibility in the game, but one of the changes was quickly rolled back.

In a tweet from Niantic’s support account, the developer explained that the increased spawn radius was unintentional and resulted from a bug fix aimed at enhancing the Pokémon encounter experience during GPS drift. While reverting the change, Niantic assured players that their feedback would be considered for optimising the Pokémon encounter experience in the future.

This is not the first time Niantic has faced backlash for accessibility-related issues. In April, the company increased the price of Remote Raid Passes and reduced the number available each day, which was criticized for making the game less accessible. This recent instance of backtracking has reignited frustrations among players who have been eagerly awaiting meaningful accessibility improvements.

Players took to social media platforms to express their disappointment, with some feeling that Niantic has a history of toying with their expectations. Pokémon Go YouTubers, including Mystic7, also voiced their complaints about the situation.

While some players found a workaround by disabling automatic updates to maintain the increased spawn radius, Niantic is expected to enforce the update eventually. Despite the frustrations, Niantic has yet to indicate whether it will reconsider the decision to reduce the spawn radius. Fans hope that Niantic will prioritize accessibility and consider the needs of all players in future updates and decisions.

For more information, please read Ryan Dinsdale’s article.