Pokemon Go player walking around and playing the game.
Photo by David Grandmougin on Unsplash

Pokémon Go community craft #HearUsNiantic message to push back against changes that ‘will harm’ the game

A lack of listening from Niantic could massively damage the global community for Pokémon Go.

The Pokémon Go community is always vocal about various events and updates the AR mobile game cycles through every month, but rarely does such a large portion of the player base unite together with a single opinion that pushes them to speak out against Niantic. 

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Throughout the day, more than 30 thousand players from all over the world have posted a pre-prepared graphic with #HearUsNiantic included in their messages to try and reverse what many of them view was a change that “will harm” the game as a whole. 

The two-part image is written as a letter to Niantic from a collective in the Pokémon Go community addressing the developer’s recent decision to limit the ability to use and increase the price of Remote Raid Passes on April 6. However, it goes beyond that and calls out many of the changes the company has been making over the last several years that have involved rolling back features that helped players play remotely, or at least from a distance, during the COVID pandemic in 2020 and up until the present. 

Throughout this message, the community notes that many players feel “unheard” when Niantic makes changes like this time and time again without giving proper reasoning to the people it will impact the most. This Remote Raid update specifically hits players who play in rural areas, have disabilities, deal with social anxiety, have odd work schedules, or might not have the time to go out and participate in raids for several reasons. 

Even more than that, since Remote Raids and other play-from-a-distance features were added, Pokémon Go and its community adapted and, in some ways, become more global than ever before. Players implemented those elements into how they interacted with each other and something as simple as limiting the number of Remote Raids a player can participate in or gatekeeping them with a higher price removes the ability for certain people to enjoy a game so many players love. 

“At the end of the day, the world has evolved since the pandemic. The landscape of working, playing, and interacting has evolved and changed,” the community post reads. 

“Trainers now work from home. Through the new work/life dynamic, rich remote communities were built. These communities are just as viable and strong as in-person communities. These communities are unique, special, and one-of-a-kind. And we know from the bottom of our hearts that there is equal room to have both types of communities flourish simultaneously.”

That plea is essentially asking for Niantic to rethink the decision to limit Remote Raid passes, while also clearly stating the way most fans think changes can be made to incentivize more in-person play at the same time. 

With the initial announcement Niantic made, the developers listed that players at in-person raids would have a much higher chance of getting Candy XL. The community has built upon that offer and is pushing Niantic to further increase the rewards in-person players would receive rather than taking away other content. 

In this example, players have suggested that players physically present at a raid could get guaranteed Candy XL, increased odds to get Lucky Friends when interacting with other players at that raid, and added premium rewards such as Incubators and Star Pieces. 

The message is clear. Incentivize in-person raids without taking away anything from Remote Raids—and hopefully follow this methodology to other features added over the last three years.  

“We as a global community did not want the Remote Raid issue to come to this point, but as already mentioned, we are not heard,” the community post reads. “Please, for a second time, #HearUsNiantic. Talk to your community. Talk to us. Let’s have a discussion. The answer is beyond creating scarce limitation for remote raids but creating a rich incentivized environment to encourage local community congregation.”

For most players, this is more than just losing out on a useful feature to catch Pokémon from a distance. It is threatening to destroy years of global community building that have kept some people with the game through some tough times when local stuff just wasn’t an option. 

At the time of writing this, more than 61,000 people have signed a change.org petition against this decision and the conversation about Remote Raids has been trending on multiple social media platforms. 

Unfortunately, the track record for community outrage pushing Niantic to change a decision is very hit or miss over the years. There is a good chance Niantic doesn’t acknowledge this outreach at all and simply rolls out the change on April 6 as planned. 

Related: Pokémon Go player theory suggests Niantic plotted out entire Remote Raid Pass backlash

If a decision to stop this new update is made, players will likely see an announcement from Niantic on or around April 6. Until then, it is a waiting game to see if the higher-ups at the company will at least pause plans to gut Remote Raids to discuss alternative actions for their continued pursuit of “real-world play in Pokémon Go.”

And, if nothing is done, then this might end up being a bigger loss for the game than Niantic could have anticipated. 

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Cale Michael
Lead Staff Writer for Dota 2, the FGC, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and more who has been writing for Dot Esports since 2018. Graduated with a degree in Journalism from Oklahoma Christian University and also previously covered the NBA. You can usually find him writing, reading, or watching an FGC tournament.