Pokémon Go is a brilliant idea. It allows everyone the chance to become a Pokémon trainer, (fulfilling a common childhood dream) and it promotes exercise and socialising far better than most other mobile games.
Nonetheless, nothing is perfect, and there have been a number of high-profile problems and issues so far. Let’s get started with one of the most obvious problems, that actually has little to do with the app itself;
When I heard about the gym system, thievery was one of the first of the first problems that came to mind.
Walking around with a $600 device in your hand in the dead of night is inadvisable, but that won’t stop more gullible trainers from taking a chance in a bid to find another elusive monster to add to the collection.
We’re now at the point where websites are producing guides with tips showing how not to get robbed, although I do have one obvious tip.
Pay attention to your surroundings, and avoid eye contact with other trainers if you don’t want to battle. (Note: May not work in real life.)
This is the quote from a Sheriff’s department in Missouri after a number of robberies at a PokeStop:
“Using the geolocation feature, the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims.”
You can add a beacon to a PokeStop to lure more players. Apparently they were using the app to locate [victims] standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in.”
2. Pokémon is supposed to be for children
When I was ten years old, Ash was ten years old. Now I’m 26, and Ash is still ten years old. (And he still hasn’t become a Pokémon master.)
He had a level 100 Pikachu to help him along the way, but there’s a reason why Ash can’t win any of the tournaments. The games and TV show are there to sell the toys, cards and games that are associated with the franchise, and ideally they would like it to go on forever.
(In other words, when I’m 50, Ash will be 10 years old. And he still won’t win anything despite having *2000 Pokémon to choose from.)
*I don’t actually know how many Pokémon there are. (I just checked, and it’s currently 721.)
Then again, the Pokémon that have released so far in the app are the original 150, which is nostalgic for people my age who pine for simpler times when Charizard was already Mega.
3. Pokémon Drive
Some people take the ‘Gotta Catch Em All’ tagline a little too seriously.
Playing the game while driving is surely in the realms of too stupid to live, but there are already accounts of people who are willing to put everything on the line for a chance to catch a digital Pidgey.
Thankfully, you won’t be able to hatch eggs while driving, as there’s a limit to the movement speed. This should really go without saying, but don’t use Pokémon Go while driving.
If you’re really desperate, ads have started appearing on sites like Craigslist offering to drive you around while you play!
4. Unavailable in your country
For the majority of fans around the world, the app is unavailable in your country, even if you can see it in the store.
With a few workarounds you can get started, but when you see some of the issues listed below, you can see why it might be worth waiting for the official version.
Download the game at your own risk, but be careful if you plan to get it from an unverified source.
5. Battery Drain
Okay, wow. The battery drain is ridiculous, and it was noticeable from the instant I started the game up for the first time.
As the game is still in beta stages, it’s understandable that it hasn’t been optimised properly. That being said, for many people it’s not a good idea to leave the app on while you’re away from a power point, which defeats the purpose of going outside to collect Pokémon.
It will drain your battery to the point where you’ll think it’s super effective, (sorry) and there’s not much you can do for now.
6. Location X
Living in central London has some perks.
Everything you need to play Pokémon should be near to hand if you live in a major city, but the same can’t be said if you live in the middle of nowhere. There are quite a few players online who have registered their disappointment at being left out of the loop.
Considering the social aspect of the game, it’s a shame that some people don’t have the facilities to get involved properly. If you can’t find a PokeStop or gym in walking distance, you can’t really play it properly.
(Also, sometimes they turn up in the strangest places!)
How do you trade in Pokemon Go? You can’t.
This was one of the best features of the original games. Exchanging Pokémon was the only way to complete your collection in the originals, and a trading system was promised while Go was in early development.
Reports are flooding in from numerous sources that a future update will allow for player to player (P2P) trading, although there’s no confirmed date as of yet.
It’s a core element of the gameplay, and it’s sure to add another layer which is desperately needed. (Also, it’ll be a great way to expand the user base even further. Why do the hard work when your friends can give you Pokémon instead?)
Of course, nothing in life is free, and you’re going to have to pay for the game one way or another. To be fair, it’s a sacrifice most are willing to make to get a daily dose of Pokémon on their mobile.
Whether it’s time or cash, free to play titles are always looking to extract money from your wallet. There’s nothing wrong with that in of itself, as long as they’re implemented properly and the game is fun to play.
Everyone seems to be having fun with it, but it would have been nice to have the opportunity to pay a flat fee for everything.
9. What did I just give you access to?
Privacy is always a concern, which is why news that Pokémon Go could potentially be a huge security risk is so worrying.
It asks for a lot in exchange for the opportunity to play. Here’s a list of things the app can do, according to Redowl engineer Adam Reeve;
- Read all your email
- Send email as you
- Access all your Google drive documents (including deleting them)
- Look at your search history and your Maps navigation history
- Access any private photos you may store in Google Photos
- And a whole lot more
Reeve goes on to say that it’s likely to be a mistake, and the developers confirmed this to be true in a statement released shortly afterwards:
“We recently discovered that the Pokémon Go account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account,” Niantic said.
“However, Pokémon Go only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your user ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected.
Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon Go or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokémon Go’s permission to only the basic profile data that Pokémon Go needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.”
In other words, it was incompetence rather than maliciousness that led to the issues, and you should be able to rest assured that it’ll all be resolved in a later update.
10. All the exercise
After a while, it’s a bit of a chore to have to travel just to play a Pokémon game. One of the best things about the original games was their portability, but it’s a shame that you’re the one that has to move around.
Exercise is hardly ever a bad thing, but the nature of the game means that it can only be played in short bursts.
As every pedestrian knows, it’s hard to look where you’re going while you’re on your phone. Pokémon Go encourages you to play on the move, which has the potential to lead to accidents if you aren’t careful.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a number of people who have hurt themselves while playing the game, and these stories are easy to find across the internet.
Here’s a post from a player that had to go and see Nurse Joy straight away:
It’s not just you that could get hurt, as there’s always the phone itself to think about, as well as everyone else around you. (The game even warns you to pay attention to your surroundings as it loads up.)
It’s also worth remembering that some drivers have taken to throwing a cheeky Pokeball or two while behind the wheel, (if reports are to be believed) and it would be fairly ironic if you were mown down by a fast-moving trainer.
12. Further unintended consequences
If you had to think of potential negatives before downloading the app, you probably wouldn’t come up with insulting an entire nation and losing your job.
Take the case of a player in Singapore that was eventually fired by his company after posting a status insulting the country because of their lack of Pokémon:
Truyen eventually apologised, but it just goes to show that the Butterfree effect can have the strangest outcomes. Then again, it’s probably best not to blame the country itself.
13. Compatibility Issues
You might be in the right location, with enough battery life to keep playing for a while, but there’s still a chance you’ll encounter problems with software, hardware, or a lack of connection.
If your device doesn’t have a gyroscope you’re not going to be able to play in AR mode, which is a shame if you were looking forward to catching Pokémon with reality in the background.
If you’re desperate to play, there are tonnes of cheap handsets out there that can handle Pokémon Go.
Pokémon Go is a nifty way to stay active and have fun in your local area, even if it’s not as great as people have been making it out to be. It’s still needs a lot of work, although it has been promising since launch.
It’s a fun way to reminisce, and it’s easy to get hooked as you aim to add to your ever expanding collection of original Pokémon.
Most of these problems should be fixed in time, but it’s always worth understanding what you’re letting yourself in for. It’s an addictive experience, and it’s easy to get hooked.
How have you been getting on with Pokémon Go? Have you been having problems? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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