Pokémon Go players are not happy with a weekend of developments from Niantic, the team behind the hugely popular mobile game. A major update limited or removed features amid ongoing performance issues, and meant that unofficial tracking sites players had been using to find Pokémon were also effectively shut down.
The root of the problems is the ability to track Pokémon in the game. The in-game tracker, which showed nearby Pokémon with one-to-three paw prints, has been broken for weeks and was removed in the Android v0.31.0 and iOS 1.1.0 updates released on 31 July. The feature will return once a fix has been implemented.
At the same time, Niantic and The Pokémon Company acted to prevent many websites from using the app's API – which allowed sites like Pokevision to display when and where Pokémon were appearing worldwide. The result is that there is currently no way, official or otherwise, to track Pokémon in a game designed around hunting down Pokémon.
Given Niantic CEO John Hanke has gone on record as saying he's not a fan of such sites, adding that they utilise hacking and that he considers the use of them "cheating". So it's no surprise that they didn't last long. It seems the sites knew they were on borrowed time too.
Other changes in the update include a shrinking of the interaction radius that emits from players, but an increase in range a player has to attempt to catch a Pokémon once they've popped up. There are new warnings for players − telling them not to play Go while driving or enter dangerous places.
Players can now customise the look of their trainer after the initial start-up and the transfer option for Pokémon has been moved. Favouriting a Pokémon now protects it from being accidentally transferred and critically, particularly for iOS users, the battery-saving option (which dimmed the screen when held upside down at your side or in your pocket) has been temporarily removed.
Some users have found their progress wiped, but this is due to a bug that can easily be remedied.