Niantic releases 80 new Pokémon in attempt to bring users back
By | Curran Daly
Niantic released 80 new Pokémon into the popular Pokémon GO game on Feb. 16, adding 80 new cute reasons to get out and explore the local area.
The update adds new Pokémon, evolutions, gameplay animations, berries, and wardrobe options. The game dominated the summer months, according an article on the Business of Apps website daily user numbers surpassed Netflix, Spotify, and Twitter on Android devices.
User numbers declined after the initial release. The decrease in users mimicked the percentages lost by other apps. However, according to SurveyMonkey, the larger initial audience meant that a 25 percent decline would lead to the loss of 3.9 million weekly users. The new update has been viewed as an attempt to bring back former users and appease consistent users.
Connor Austin, a junior religious studies major, played the game when it was first released but has deleted the game because of repetitive gameplay and problems with the app working on his phone.
“I literally just re-downloaded it two minutes ago,” said Austin. “It was kinda the fulfillment of my dreams as a kid, going out and catching Pokémon and seeing other trainers, but once it started to dwindle it waned for me.”
The game garnered a loyal following after its release. Some of the success was attributed to the games connection with fans who finally got to live out their childhood dreams of becoming a Pokémon trainer.
The game centers on high interest locations, like Humboldt State’s campus, while neglecting more isolated areas.
“It depends on where you live, because before I lived on campus I was living on Giuntoli, and like even though I played it kinda sucked because there was only Pidgeys or Rattatas for miles, but here on campus it’s great,” said Austin.
The abundance of common Pokémon was an annoyance for users when the game was released. However, with the games new update, there are new low level Pokémon that have joined them as the ever present Pokémon.
Julianne Updike, a senior communication major, is happy to see the new Pokémon as they revitalize the game that was becoming stale.
“Having more Pokémon in the game than it did before, definitely makes it more fun again,” Updike said. “But I think once we get used to those ones it will get kind of boring again.”
The release of new Pokémon has generated more interest in the game, but it will not keep users satisfied forever. Many fans of the game have been waiting for the introduction of player to player Pokémon trading to be introduced into the mobile game. Trading was a feature promised before the release of the game and its absence has frustrated some users.
Along with trading, people are hoping that the game will go on to further mimic the original Pokémon games with features like in depth combat and being able to interact with the Pokémon.
“I get that the technology is new for this type of game, but I think they could’ve added a more dynamic combat system because the way you fight now is just like da-da-da-da-da, just mindlessly tapping the screen, when in the actual Pokémon games so much more goes into battles,”said Austin. “If it could mirror that better that would be nice.”
These changes would be a welcome addition to the game for Lucas Arnese, a junior art education major, who has been playing that game since being a part of the beta. To Arnese, the game is addicting and connects him to his childhood growing up with Pokémon.
“My grandma used to play with me as a kid, she would play and fight with us, I played before I could read,” Arnese said. “Then once I could read I really started to get more into it. It’s kind of cool to know that I grew up with Pokémon.”
Nostalgia is a major force behind people playing the game. Niantic is hoping that this nostalgia will keep the game relevant while they continue adding features to create a more complete and diverse game.
Woody Sundberg, a junior English major, thinks that the game will be able to outlive previous apps like Temple Run and Angry Birds. Pokémon Go’s use of location and augmented reality makes the game stand out, which Sundberg believes will help the longevity of the game.
“It helps you explore areas and go places you’ve never been before and otherwise wouldn’t end up at like the murals in Eureka or the Arcata marsh at sunset,” Sundberg said.