Niantic explains why it removed the footprints feature from Pokémon Go

Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, has explained why it made several changes to the game in the latest update. The update removed footprints of nearby pokémon, and limited access to third-party services. Niantic states that both changes were geared toward improving the design and quality of service of the game.

Niantic's servers were unable to handle the massive influx of users that made their way to the game following its debut in early July. From the Facebook post:

We have removed the '3-step' display in order to improve upon the underlying design. The original feature, although enjoyed by many, was also confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals. We will keep you posted as we strive to improve this feature.We have limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokémon GO to users around the world.

Pokémon Go is not available in major global markets, including Brazil and India, and Niantic has stated that the game will make its way to additional countries shortly:

The large number of users has made the roll-out of Pokémon GO around the world an... interesting… challenge. And we aren't done yet! Yes, Brazil, we want to bring the game to you (and many other countries where it is not yet available).We have read your posts and emails and we hear the frustration from folks in places where we haven't launched yet, and from those of you who miss these features. We want you to know that we have been working crazy hours to keep the game running as we continue to launch globally.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

23 Comments
  • While this is exactly the communication the fanatics all over reddit wanted, I bet they still will find something to whine about.
  • How about the fact that they're straight up avoiding the truth? They mentioned the servers couldn't handle the player load, but they never explicitly stated that they removed tracking because it was hard on the servers. They said they removed the footprints because "that's not the style of game we wanted". Everyone had the 3 footprints glitch, everyone saw the screen saying the servers were down. They don't need to act like everything was fine. I knew this game would blow up more than Niantic's servers could handle, and I was OK with that. I was patient, and kept reloading my game, knowing it would get better. When they nerfed the tracking, I was OK with that, because I knew they did it for the servers. But when we ask for communication, we want honest communication. If you're going to try and save face, do it with something that the entire Pokemon Go community isn't going to know you're lying about.
  • How about, it's a free effing game and there are more important things to ***** about?
  • I'm sorry, but any game with IAP is not FREE. And many of us have paid for said IAP. I'm not one of the people angry and up in arms, but considering this game is meant to coerce you to pay money, and people have willingly, "it's a free effing game" is not a valid argument.
  • A game having IAP doesn't make it cost money by default; however, a game that does not cost money to download or play does make it free by default. You didn't change the price of the game when you bought something lol. The game is free. The items may cost money, but they're optional. That being said, I still don't think it's a valid argument, so I agree with you on that. The cost of the game shouldn't impact the service or communication with your paid, or unpaid players. Even the players who may not spending money in game are assisting by playing it. It's free advertisement.
  • dont get me wrong, I want the tracking. Aint nobody got time to aimlessly wander... But some communication is better than none. And for the same reason any company you can think of that has a PR team, they are only allowed to say so much. In this world of NDAs and trade secrets, you'll never hear the entire truth unless you're IN the team (let alone the company). Perspective.
  • Yet, the servers are still the same as they were before the patch. In UK we get downed servers during the day off peak.
    I'm by far not the fanatic of Pokemon. Never followed them never watched anything related to them. The only Pokémon I knew before this game was Pikachu, and that was from cosplaying Jessica Nigri ;) But I did appreciate the idea of the game, go out and explore. Instead of nerfing various features to 'ease' the servers they should actually add more servers instead of releasing the game to other markets without sorting out the existing ones. Every time new country is added to the Pokémon Go, we get servers down message. Instead of going blind, they should identify over expansion and deal with it.
  • Meanwhile over at Ingress, All is well :-) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah lets remove the foot prints and then kill the pokevision site. Took the fun right out of the game. Niantic have you ever seen fish finders on boats???? guess what some fisherman use them others don't let the player have the choice!!!!!
  • Then go fishing.
  • Lol!
  • That explains very little.
  • Not only does it explain very little, but it puts the blame on 3rd parties instead of Niantic themselves.
  • So ummm what do you do after you catch'em all? I was over it after a week. All is did was drain my battery and make my S7E hot as heck.
    Seems like a good game for people forced to be somewhere they don't want to be, but there is no substance to it.
  • First off, you can't catch 'em all in this game. It's not feasible. And they made that clear. For another, the focus isn't on that. And the goal is to continually expand the functionality of the game to keep people interested. I'm still playing, and a ton of others are too.
  • So basically they said nothing and the game is still useless to anyone not living in a downtown metro area. It's not fun at all to be at the mercy of random.
  • What he said Posted via the Android Central App
  • Its....just....a....game Calm down Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly! Never haven't even played it. Posted via the Android Central App
    for LG G3
  • Meh, it's a crappy game that has already run its course. Of course AC has podcasts and everything else dedicated to it.
  • It's a game.. would you like me to list the failed games on the play store. Here is an idea, stop playing it, and drop their star ratings as well. Ifor the players want to speak, they can make it the fastest rising game, and the fastest falling game in history. It will teach other developers that there is definitely a market for this type of game, but they better do it right.
  • I have a hard time believing that the 3rd party trackers are leading to issues-- with MILLIONS of people playing, are the dozen or so trackers that are running really generating that many requests? And if so, why not buy one, make it official, and block the others? And it's not like 200 people suddenly jumping online and running to a park is going generate that significant a traffic spike, unless they have horribly inefficient code. I wonder if this is some half-thought-out attempt to weed out the casuals and get traffic down to a more manageable level of people who are more likely to pay down the line.
  • So, in short, we have to wander around looking for pokemon without know the exact position of each one like they did in the other pokemon games? Outrageous!