Pokemon GO, the mobile game that has quickly taken over the attention of many gamers around the world, has been nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. Many gamers have dedicated hours upon hours in the quest to “catch ‘em all,” and this can be seen in public locations around the globe, whether in a park or at the beach.

Pokemon Go Nintendo
Image Credit: Nintendo

Niantic Labs, the developers behind the massively popular game has just released the first update to the game, and despite adding and subtracting a number of features as well as fixing crashes and server issues, it has left many players angry. On Reddit, for example, many players are actively blasting Niantic for removing features and cracking down on third-party applications that helped players find Pokémon in the game.

Footprint tracker gone

When Pokemon GO was first released on July 6, the application included a feature called the “footprint tracker” which allowed players to effectively track and find nearby Pokémon. Choosing to open a box at the lower right-hand corner of the maps screen allowed users to view nearby creatures, each with one, two, or three footprints underneath them. These footprints corresponded to how far away the Pokémon was from the player, with each footprint representing intervals of 100m.

Just after the game was launched, however, the footprint-tracking feature ceased to function, rumored to be a glitch related to the maps interface the game uses, Google Maps. As of this morning, the new update for the game has completely removed the footprint feature, opting to nix it rather than fix it.

This is the most controversial change to the game, and while it isn’t inherently wrong to remove broken features from the game, Niantic Labs has failed to properly explain the removal or offer different alternatives. Additionally, the developer has asked third-party Pokémon tracking alternatives such as Pokévision to shut down. If the developer doesn’t want players to use unofficial options to find Pokémon, then it should certainly present a functioning alternative.

Battery-saving feature nixed

The update also decided to get rid of the game’s battery-saving feature, though many reported the feature to cause the game to crash frequently. It may have functioned for some, but, regardless, the function is no more. Be sure to turn your screen brightness down and carry a portable battery pack on your extended Pokémon hunts.

Other changes to Pokemon GO

In addition to these changes (or, removals), Niantic has made a number of different changes to the game. Players are now able to customize the appearance of their in-game avatars, allowing users to change the skin color, hair color, shirts, and pants, among other things.

Additionally, transferring Pokémon is now easier. When viewing a Pokémon, instead of scrolling down, there is a menu button now available in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Selecting it and choosing “Transfer” allows for easier transferring of Pokémon to Professor Oak.

Players can also now “favorite” any Pokémon, which prevents users from accidentally transferring them. This also allows users to rank your top monsters within the menu. Different Pokémon’s abilities in battle have also been changed, balancing out certain Pokémon that were stronger than others, namely Vaporeon.

Refunds demanded by some users

Many players are even demanding refunds on their in-app purchases, claiming that the game’s functionality has been changed to the point where the original plans for those purchases are no longer viable.

With all of the negative response to the update, many Pokemon GO players are certainly hoping that Niantic Labs addresses the update accordingly. Hopefully the developer offers up an explanation as to what they did to the game as soon as possible, before backlash grows any stronger.