Pokemon GO is a location-based game, which means that the experience can be very different depending on whether you’re living in the city, or in a more rural area. There are tons of monsters, gyms, and Pokestops in just about any major metro center, while the same can’t be said when you’re out in the wilds.
This week, one Pokemon GO player who lived in a rural area shared their experiences of venturing into the city on the game’s subreddit. This particular trainer found that unplanned Raids were pretty frustrating, but making arrangements with others via services like Discord actually made the game much more fun and engaging.
Shortly afterward, NianticGeorge appeared in the comments section representing the development team. The support staff member had some interesting responses to this particular trainer’s experiences, including confirmation that the game will introduce better tools for players to team up on Raid battles over the next few updates.
However, one area where NianticGeorge disagreed with the trainer was in their assertion that the studio “doesn’t care” about rural players.
We’ve made some big improvements: OPR has drastically improved access for rural players, adding sponsored locations has improved access with a varying level of impact to rural players (we know we need sponsors in more places), adding the ability to get items from Gyms has helped address the no Poké Ball issue that plagued rural players, increasing the number of Gyms so more areas have access to battle, and making changes to balance Pokémon distribution.
NianticGeorge did acknowledge that further improvements can be made. The team member reiterated that Niantic is aware of rural players’ frustrations, and is eager to do everything in its power to ensure that Pokemon GO remains a great experience for all trainers.
It’s difficult to fine-tune a location-based game like Pokemon GO to ensure that everyone gets their share of the fun, especially since making monsters and events too accessible would remove some of the adventure. However, Niantic really does seem committed to making improvements, so it’s good to see the studio engage in such direct communication with its audience.