Pokemon fever hit my office hard. No wonder, we work in the gaming industry, we are indeed gamers. So when something big and new hits the scene, we all take part, at least a little.
I was in the casual players pool. Sure, I joined some of the chat channels, I’d even call out if I saw something cool in my vicinity. As an excuse to get away from my desk I’d sometimes walk to the other Pokestops on campus, and once I tracked a Vulpix over to the IT department. But the only reason I had nearly enough pokeballs was the fact that I could hit a Pokestop from my desk. Outside of the office I rarely even booted up the program.
On the other hand, I had coworkers who would take off en masse to reconquer the local gyms. They were coordinated, team efforts were common, and if anything remotely rare showed up near the office there was often a flood of them racing for it. So we had some dedicated players! They’d arrange to go to the pier after work, or drive down close to my area (about 20 miles south of the office) to find nests that may or may not exist. They kept the chat channels hopping.
And now… tumbleweeds. Sure, there were a few complaints about the changes (tracking, mainly). There was a brief and passionate backlash about the changes to throwing pokeballs and the lack of communication at first. But it burned hot, bright, and then out as fast as it started. And I honestly think it’s because of the lack of displayed passion on the part of Niantic – gamers who care want to feel that same sense of return, even if there’s no action and just communication, from the creators. When you feel like you’re screaming into the void, eventually you stop screaming and walk away. You can’t keep up an argument very long if the other side takes their ball and goes home.
It feels like that’s what Niantic did. They made changes, mistakes, decisions, etc – but never bothered to talk about them, address the concerns, or even fight back. If they don’t care enough to talk to us, why do we care enough to give them feedback, or even keep playing?