Niantic addresses backlash to upcoming Pokémon GO Remote Raid changes, stands by decision
Whether you like it not, this is happening
There are certain announcements you just know are going to make people extremely upset, and the one Niantic revealed last week was definitely one of them.
As you no doubt noticed, Niantic announced plans to completely revamp how Remote Raids work in Pokémon GO. Remote Raids were first introduced in Pokémon GO back in April 2020 as a response to how play changed during the pandemic. Now 3 years later, Niantic is looking to get Pokémon GO play closer to how it was pre-pandemic.
Remote Raids will still be a thing in Pokémon GO, but there are a number of tweaks and changes that will no doubt push players to interact in person, rather than from home. To say that players have been enraged by this planned change is an understatement, as Niantic has been bombarded with complaints and vitriol ever since the announcement was made.
With the change taking place on April 6th, 2023, Eurogamer talked to Ed Wu, Pokémon GO VP to get more insight as to why the changes are coming, along with thoughts on the backlash. Not surprisingly, Wu said the decision is final, and Niantic is full-steam ahead on the revamp. You can see his comments on the matter below.
“It’s a big and meaningful change to a huge part of the game… so as you might imagine for a change of this magnitude, we’ve of course examined many possible alternatives. After thinking very carefully about this, what we’re doing is relatively simple. Generally speaking, the goal is to keep Remote Raids as a part of Pokémon Go, but to do so in a sustainable way. The change is necessary for the long term health of the overall game, and our principles of getting folks outside and exploring the world together.
The world has largely moved back outdoors and Remote Raid passes have come to dominate the overall experience of playing in a way we never intended. It’s become essentially a shortcut to playing the game. We’ve seen an imbalance because the current price of Remote Raid passes is matched to the Premium Battle Pass which is distorting the game economy, and making the game unsustainable in the long term.
We know this is a big change and some folks will have a strong reaction to that. We’re very empathetic to that reaction. But we really think this is the right thing for the overall long term health of the game, and our desire to make sure it’s great for many, many, many years to come.
There’s a wide variety of folks who play Pokémon Go. Generally speaking, the number of people who will be affected by the cap on a day-to-day basis is a relatively small part of the total set of folks who play our game. It’s often sometimes useful to ground what the median player of Pokémon Go is - it’s something I talk about with the team all the time. The median player of Pokémon Go is probably someone like a Singaporean grandma who walks with her senior group for 30 to 60 minutes every morning as part of her exercise and social routine, [who] mostly focuses on catching Pokémon with her friends, and maybe very occasionally or maybe not at all raids.
It’s important to ground [the fact] the vast majority of folks in our game find a lot of value in Pokémon Go from many other parts of the game beyond raiding. But the game balance and economics of Pokémon Go are now being dominated by Remote Raids in a way we never intended. And for a segment of the player population, this is fundamentally unsustainable. It constitutes a small, small part of the player population, [but] it’s a player population we care deeply about as they are some of our most engaged players who have invested many, many years, and much of their attention and enjoyment into this game. And it’s important to make sure the game is balanced for all segments.
Many games have shortcuts, right? When games offer shortcuts, they also ensure these don’t distort the overall value of the game by doing things like imposing limitations on the number of times they can be used. So in many ways, this is actually very analogous to a wide variety of games that have similar loops, and where ultimately, a game is about both the journey as well as the destination.”
As someone that played before and alot during the pandemic (meeing people outside was alot safer than inside), remote passes really made the experience worse.
The difference with seeing multiple people every walk that played, to basicly two to none, and from 30+ people most raidhours walking, to just a core group of less than 10 (often 3 or 4) and raids filled by remote players (sometimes blocking in person players), since all can play remotely or invite people to solo raids, this is a very welcome change and it should have happened earlier imo, now people have "finished raiding/got all neccesary XL, shiny or 100%" on alot of the pokemon that were in the pandemic so free to play makes it harder to catch up with those raids and getting those 296 XL candies.
Will be interesting to see how the turnout with this change and shadow raids starting to happen how it changes communities globally.
You must live in an area with a lot of players.
Where I live, you're lucky if you ever run across another Pokemon Go player, and you can NEVER expect help in a raid unless you get really lucky. For me, remote raid passes made the game more fun, and actually gave me a fighting chance to get rare legendary Pokemon that only show up in raids.
I wish they were making remote raids more accessible, but that's definitely not the case.
Thats the thing, pre remoteraids, there were alot of active players, post remotepass, people do it alone by inviting people, so the social aspect that kept people around disapeared which made a slippery slope of more and more people quitting (or just soloplaying). And yes, that has lead to no daily raids anymore, compared to before when people posted atleast 3-4 times daily about a raid and trying to get people to join them.
This is a clear and obvious sign, the higher ups and whoever is making these decisions are so disconnected and lost touch with their own community.
Remote passes just never fit their vision of the game. They want huge groups of players coming together in parks and other places and interacting at points of interest. This probably also helps a lot with their sponsor pokestops money, qr scanning, and other point specific revenue.
The only problem is unless you are in a large city this was never realistic. Ever rural player just got screwed over yet again and even city players don't always have time to meet up somewhere in person just for a mobile game. I guess I will just be doing a lot less raiding...