Update: The App Store star rating for Pokémon Go has disappeared after the recent version 1.1.1 patch on iOS. Reviews for older versions not showing is normal, but personally I have never seen an app rating disappear this way. Tapping on the app reveals there are currently 4,500+ reviews for the current version with the overwhelming majority giving it a one star rating.
Original story: Just a few weeks ago Pokémon Go was nothing short of a cultural phenomenon set to rake in potentially billions of dollars. But in light of recent changes to game and the shutting down of popular Pokémon radar apps and websites, the goodwill built up by Niantic is quickly fading away with the game’s rating has tumbling to two stars on the Apple App Store in the US.
The latest update to Pokémon Go (iOS 1.1.0, Android 0.31.0) altered the in-game radar that was designed to inform players of how far away a Pokémon, but eventually became incredibly inaccurate. Instead of fixing the radar Niantic opted to cut it from the game, much to the anger of players around the world.
Around the same time popular Pokémon radar apps and websites like PokéVision and Pokewhere were either sent cease and desist letter or cut off from the Pokémon Go servers in a recent update. Many unofficial radars use a Pokémon Go API to give players highly accurate read outs of where Pokémon are hiding, but also violate Niantic’s terms of service.
The Reddit Pokémon Go community, which has around 750,000 subscribers, became filled with posts mocking Niantic and their decisions that many see as working against the game. So too did Reddit’s other more exclusive Pokémon Go group The Silph Road see a spike in negative comments.
Twitter has also seen an increase in angered fans coming out against Niantic’s update and in support of PokéVision and Pokewhere with some using the #FixTracker and #FreePokevision to garner support.
You don’t invent Marco Polo, get 80M players to join, then remove the Polo part and expect people to keep playing.
– Yancheng Liu, co-founder of PokéVision, on Twitter (@)
Fans of Niantic’s previous augmented reality game Ingress have chimed in, adding that the developers of Pokémon Go “will probably thoroughly ignore them” and that they should expect very little in way of communication from the usually tight-lipped developer.
Editorial comment: There’s not a lot to add here, Niantic aren’t giving their fans an inch despite the bad press going on at the moment. But there is one big mitigating factor – Nintendo. Though not always perfect when it comes to communicating with fans, Nintendo have been doing much better in previous years (like their Tree House streams) and could step in and do damage control if the negative vibe around Pokémon Go takes over. Time will tell.