Update: Yancheng responded to Reddit commenter who said he should apply for the Niantic community manager position. “I’m honored that a lot of you guys think I’d be good for the job,” said Yancheng “- but trust me, I’m not”. He concluded by saying that that this “is one of the things I didn’t comment on in my letter because, honestly, in Niantic’s position, I’m not sure what I would do either – thus making me not a great candidate.”
Original story: Yancheng Liu, the co-founder of Pokevision, has published an open letter to Niantic on Medium explaining why he help create Pokevision and his frustration with the game developer’s lack of communication. The letter begins with Yang (as he signs the letter) writing openly about his love of the franchise after moving with his family to the US in 1998 and begging his parents for a Game Boy and Pokémon Yellow.
Pokemon is so ingrained within me, and I can’t imagine myself being the only one. I’m not the only one that vividly remembers how you beat the Elite Four, then go to the dungeons above Cerulean City and find Mewtwo for the first time, right?
– Yancheng Liu from his open letter to Niantic on Medium
The letter goes on to say how his love of Pokémon came flooding back when launching Pokémon Go for the first time and watched as his favorite childhood franchise became a global phenomenon.
The letter then goes into detail about the creation of Pokevision as a response to the broken in-game radar system, adding “we had every intention in closing it down the minute that Pokemon Go’s own tracker restored functionality”.
The over 2000-word letter goes on to say the in-game tracker was a core element of the game and Yang could see the user-base dwindling as Ninatic stayed silent on the possibility of any fixes.
Of the solid facts presented in the letter, Yang cites Pokevision garnering 50 million unique users with 11 million users daily and states that John Hanke, CEO of Ninatic, personally messaged him about shutting the site down.
Since the latest Pokémon Go update none of the major tracking apps have functioned normally, with most not working at all.
Editorial comment: You don’t have to agree with the use of Pokémon Go radars (though I’ll happily admit to enjoying them), but it’s hard to deny that Yancheng was filling a gap in the market created by bugs in the game and a lack of communication by Niantic. Here’s hoping the bots that could actually ruin the game are next in the firing line.