Pokemon Go-es downhill

September 19, 2016 — by Karen Chow and Austin Wang

Students talk about why Pokemon Go is on a decline.

We’ve all seen the sight recently: a stampede of people hurry from downtown Saratoga to Wildwood Park, phones out and fingers primed for flicking. The swarm amasses around the bridge over Saratoga Creek as the joyous cry “I got it!” echoes throughout the crowd.

This summer, Pokemon Go took the world by a storm, attracting a record-breaking 9.5 million daily users in a week after its release. Locally, downtown Saratoga and Wildwood Park were constantly filled with children, teens and adults — all hunting for rare pokemon.

Pokemon Go was based on the iconic childhood game and show, “Pokemon Gotta Catch em’ All.” Watching it come to life with immersive technology made Pokemon fans feel as if they were real pokemon trainers.

Senior Siavash Yagoobi, who played Pokemon games as a child, was drawn to the game’s realistic feel as well as its use of innovative new technology.

“The technology creates a situation in which players feel like a part of the actual game since it uses real-world locations as its map,” Yagoobi said.

Junior Alan Lu also got hooked because of the satisfaction of catching a rare Pokemon. Lu attributes Pokemon Go’s success to the game’s high-profile nature: seeing people play on the streets created a wave of curiosity which led to more people playing.

Only about one month after its release, however, interest started to decline.

“It got kind of boring because after you catch [many] Pokemon, it's really hard to get the rarer Pokemon and you waste a lot of time just getting the common ones,” Yaghoobi said.

Furthering the decline of the game, Niantic, the creator of Pokemon Go, made changes that disrupted the game.

The July 31 update removed three-footstep tracking, a core feature that allowed users to see if they were getting closer to nearby Pokemon, as the company felt that it was too confusing and prone to glitches. Directly after the removal of tracking, Niantic received a heavy backlash and the number of players began to dwindle.

Instead of remedying the situation by re-adding the feature or attempting to fix it, Niantic began removing third-party tracking sites, which left users with no way to easily track Pokemon and caused their user numbers to plummet further.

Despite all these changes, Lu and Yagoobi still plan on playing.

“Considering school [has started] it might not be wise to be playing now, but regardless of what they [update] I think I will play next summer,” Yagoobi said.

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