A personal article / statement from Antonio, the main GO Hub editor in chief.

Dear reader, let me be honest for a second.

I, and many others, were sceptical when Hanke said that Niantic is doubling down and that they are 100% committed to Pokémon GO. Hell, it sounded like a cheap last minute PR trick, pulled out of necessity to curb the growing resentment towards their Niantic’s Harry Potter announcement.

Luckily, I was wrong.

In a mere week, we’ve received more information than ever before. It is as if someone decided that it’s time to take this whole phenomena seriously. Here’s a short list of announcements shared in the past few days:

  • Pokémon GO Travel and the Global Catch Challenge — a worldwide objective and incentive to play the game, challenging, difficult and Pokémon GO-esque to the bone. Basically GO Fest, but without the mostly-offline-cringe-streams.
  • Constant updates via Twitter, Youtube and Facebook — this was never seen before, not even during GO Fest. Everyone wanted a live counter, but Niantic offered something event better: a discrete, often enough, insight into our Global Catch Challenge performance
  • First ever developer update — this is huge. Niantic has published a well written, well thought out post dedicated to explaining the design decisions behind EX Raids, the invite system and more.
  • App update (0.83.1) — a solid, well tested, bug fixing update that lays foundation for the future content updates and Generation III.

Following this spike in communication, the community has sprung to life again: Youtubers are uploading and publishing videos constantly, research is being made on several topics (raid drops, Gen III, Smeargle, etc), there is even the Trainer Tip’s drama in the background and everything looks like it’s going in a really good direction.

I must admit, these few days were the busiest days at the Hub in a while, reaching and exceeding the numbers we’ve last seen during the initial Raid release. We didn’t see this coming and it doesn’t seem to fade away: day by day, we’re seeing a solid increase in visitors, raising roughly 15% each day.

All of this is thanks to Niantic, the recent increase in communication and participation in the community. Pokémon GO is not dead, not by a mile, and this latest upbeat in player activity and interest proves the point.

Thank you Niantic — this is what doubling down truly means.

  • Ph. Win

    I tend to disagree. They promised to announce gameplay features / changes. Bugfixes and catch challenge are nothing like this.

    • Robdebobrob

      And what is the change in EX-raids system called according to you then? We all wanted it to change. To not be a random lottery where a level 7 who did 2 raids could get lucky with mewtwo while a 37 didnt get an invite cause he just didnt raid in the right place.

      Ofcourse we will have to see if it works out, but for now im mildy positive with what ive seen the last few days.

      • mcfilmmakers

        The ex raids did not change. No idea what you’re talking about.

        • Minismurfen3

          You’re right, they just changed where they appear most and some Gym Badge stuff.

          • Robdebobrob

            so it changed…

          • Robdebobrob

            You should say that to Minismurfen3 then instead of to me. He uses the word change, not explain. (and i still think it changed btw)

        • Robdebobrob

          Im sorry but how did they not change? The requirements dont say you need to raid at the gym where the EX-raid will take place. So you wont miss out cause of randomness. And even if you do need to have raided there, once you know what gyms are eligible, you just do 1 raid there per week or so and youre good to go. Having them at set locations is a huge step up in my opinion.

          People with a gold gym badge have a higher chance of getting an invite. Earlier there wasnt even talk of gym badges for EX-raids.

          And people who have done alot of raids have a higher chance of getting an invite. Again, earlier someone who had done 2 could have gotten lucky while someone who had done 500 could have missed out.

          If that doesnt count as a change for you guys i dont know what does.

          • mcfilmmakers

            Knowing an unknown doesn’t mean the unknown changed. The criteria are now known. That’s it. The requirements have not changed.

            You always needed to have raided at the gym. You always needed a high level badge at that same gym. This was not known before, but that never changed.

            A specific gym picked at alrandom is still a random location. That never changed either.

            Just because there never was talk of requiring a gym badge, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t required before.

            I don’t think you grasp the definition of random. If omeone had a low level badge and got an invite and someone who had a high level badge didn’t, that’s just part of the random lottery. Higher odds isn’t a guarantee and higher odds where always known. It was always known you had higher odds if you raided more recently, we just now know that it is t so much the raid as it is the gym badge level.

            Again, that never changed. We just know more.

          • Robdebobrob

            And i say thats just not true. I keep comming back to the level 7 vs level 37. There is no way the 7 has the gym gold. Loads of people who did the first 2 mewtwo raids (on non sponserd gyms, with the incredibly big groups) didnt have those gyms gold, or even silver.

            No where does it specify NOW that you still need to raid at the gym that will get an EX-raid. I excpect it to be an requirement, but it might as well not be.

      • the2000guy

        Not to forgot that Niantic promised us to solve the issue of spoofing that still is a problem to most cities. If they would 🔨🔨🔨, then the real fanbase will still be playing the game and spending $$$.

        • glenn houben

          Bro.. they make far more $$$ on spoofers believe me 😀
          Don’t know if I’m really against anyway.. everyone deserves to play the game and it’s not their fault niantic doesn’t fix the rural gameplay

          • Chris Denton

            I’m a rural player and I don’t cheat. The way you worded that made it seem like cheaters are only in rural areas and that’s not the case.

      • Achi

        I want good rural gameplay since game was released 18 months ago…ekhmm…so….

      • Gustavo Dante

        I’m from future to tell that Niantic did what they do best and didn’t change nothing! Just casual players got a pass!

        • Robdebobrob

          Youre actually late to that party. Ex raids were sent last friday, and i already know it was a weird and unlogical distrubution again.

    • Dimas Aditya S

      OH shut the f*ck up…

      • Ph. Win

        Good point!

  • WingedSupernova

    It’s a step in the right direction but this game is still a ways from being considered “alive” in my standards. Once we start getting new features, a steady stream of communication between developer and player, and a community that isn’t angry all the time we’ll be in business again. Take Fire Emblem Heroes for example. That game has plenty of communication between developer and player and there’s always a reason to log on.

  • Jon Jon Javellana

    Why are they even recognizing someone acting privileged and even told his #yasss army to not participate and catch pokemon because he wasnt invite.

    • Robdebobrob

      ?? Is that the trainer tips drama hes talking about? (i dont really watch any pokemone go youtube vids so i have no idea whats going on)

    • Aryx

      Wait, wait – let me go grab my popcorn first.

      This is good stuff. Please elaborate. 😊

    • Spetsen

      If you’re talking about Trainer Tips there were some fans who said they would boycott the event because he wasn’t invited. He explicitly asked people to NOT do that and instead that people should try to catch as much as possible to unlock the rewards.

      • Aryx

        Aah okay. Fair enough.
        *Puts away popcorn*

  • Rafael Martins

    Please Niantic: STOP! I’m playing Ingress and the AP is doubled so I’m playing like an animal to reach level 10, and at the same time PoGo is full of news. I just have one cell phone, few time and just one life!

    • Robdebobrob

      I know right? I brought in an old phone my parents had lying arround to help my ingress acount out, wich was level 7 at the event start, now im 8,5. There is just no time to do both.
      Honestly i just want to reach 12 for the OPR and then ill never touch it again, but the way its going now i dont see it happening soon.

      I remember a quote from an Ingress developer who said something about wanting poGO players to stick arround in ingress, thats why they upped the requirement for OPR from 8 to 12. Planning an event in both Ingress AND poGO at the same time kinda contradicts that statement.

  • Heydavid17

    Amen to that, even the hub started to seem dead and had a hard time coming with things to write about.
    It’s really good to see, that people are actually determined to reach the Gold prize and it really felt that we all, for once, got some of our questions answered, not all of course, but one of the important ones at least.

  • Hank

    I was expecting the article to end with “Jk”

  • Chris Denton

    Yeah, all hype. This bubble will burst like all bubbles.

    2 weeks from now people will still be upset about not getting invited or not being able to get an EX raid in their area.

  • Zachary Zvonek

    Receiving information doesn’t mean much. They’re sticking to their quarterly schedule like they’ve talked about before. We are simply having an event right now but they hyped it up to a super event. It’s just an event. Double XP. Trading will never be a thing because let’s face it, regionals are no longer regionals. Gen 3 will come soon and that’s dope just like Gen 2. If they release PVP then that’ll make PoGo officially worth all the time spent on it. EX raids were a mess and it took them way too long to fix it. There really hasn’t been any proof of “doubling down” (vague af comment) as far as I’m concerned.

  • Darwin Long

    Still haven’t seen a return of the thousands of Pokéstops and Gyms deleted on October 11 nor a resumption of Ingress-to-Pokemon port-over yet. That’s the answer to the rural dilemma.

    • peponzio

      Probably not the answer unfortunately. In its core the problem is that everything is based on people’s actions and the more people there are in a place the more relevant data acquired.

      This is what leaves rural places so out of the picture. Because there is just not enough data to build something remotely “stable” as the rest of the data. If portal submissions were to come to Pokemon Go it would only benefit the higher number of concentrated communities. This is exactly why rural areas have little to work with, they lack the numbers to submit data that gets immediately accepted in cities (with hundredfolds more people to back up the data).

      The only thing that comes to my mind is for somehow to address the demographics of regions in a way that could balance out the relevance of data. Places with fewer people get data with more weight and require less people to approve, while places with more people get less weight per individual participation and require more users to validate data.

      As for the deleted stops, I highly doubt they’ll come back.

      • Piotr Krzywicki

        Totaly. Not. True.
        I downloaded Ingress few days ago, to check if there is anything in my area, and if no, level up elsewhere and commit some portals in my area, in hope I will get Pokestops in return. And gusses what? Where in Pokemon GO I have literaly desert (0 Pokestops on ~6km square area, few isolated spawns), Ingress has like 8 portals, and of course none of them is converted to Pokestop. Funny enough, neighbour town, smaller than mine, get like 1:1,5 Pokestop-Portal ratio, and in cities it’s almost 1:1.
        It’s Niantic-side problem only, because when game was released, both rural and city communities were equally strong. But because game were literally unplayable in rural areas (that get a bit better since then, but is still tragical), rural communities quickly downgraded due to lack of possibility to play (single spawns of thrash tier on kms long routes, no Pokestops), while city communities remained strong (with small playerbase loss over time due to overall boringness). Now it became a snowball problem, because, in theory, people in rural could get features if they were able to provide data, but they can’t because there isn’t enough playing rural players to do so, because there wasn’t enough stuff in game to keep them playing in the first place, and they won’t get back to (active) playing unless they get more stuff, which they wouldn’t get because etc..

        As for deleted stops – portals, on which they were based, still exist. I checked in Ingress, and in my area, in 4 spots which hosted Pokestops between re-opened conversion and deletion, there still are Portals. I think the best thing to do in such situation is to download Ingress, check if Portals are still there, and keep spamming Niantic support about in-game bug, preventing Portal-Pokestop convertion, like the Brasilian guy from article featured last week did. Low success chance, but still better than nothing, especially if your place is, like mine, blank point on Pokemon map without any reason.

        • peponzio

          So, you just assumed everything I commented is “totally not true”, because your assumptions are different than mine.

          We never mentioned portal to pokestop conversion ratio, which is in and of itself a big mystery all around. The fact that it doesn’t work with you but your neighbor town does make it work only serves to prove its irregularity. But then you remind us that the problem is in PoGo, so why even bother with conversion rates?

          PoGo has its own way to deal with validity of stops, which we cannot be certain about. The only constant seems player’s participation (in number of players). Even with bringing a pokestop submission this wouldn’t change, because it still needs player participation. Players that are not even there and even if they came back they’d need many more to return to validate. Many more which cannot compete in numbers with cities.

          When I meant there is not enough data I didn’t mean the data did not exist at all. It could even exist in Niantic’s servers and not be used for Ingress, PoGo or whatever. What I meant is that there are not enough players to validate a point to make it relevant data for the algorithms to consider them viable stops/gyms.

          Also the Brazilian guy incident is a one man perspective. There is no evidence to suggest it worked and he is the reason it worked. You could just as well email them saying you and others in your town’s catches are not being registered correctly in the event because the system is invalidating catches because someone is using bots in your region.

          And again, I personally, highly doubt, by myself, that disappeared pokestops will come back. I have no proof, I may be wrong, but that is my opinion.

          • BLM

            peponzio – There is absolutely no evidence supporting that PoGo “has as its own way to deal with validity of stops”. Where I do agree with you is that the data probably does exist but to Piotrs point there has never been a focus on rural to give it much of a chance. And Niantic has been hearing about it from day one and not addressed it. I live outside Atlanta and have always enjoyed a ton of resources where friends of mine in 2 hours away have nothing really, but when looking at Ingress the have tons of stops just not in PoGo. What has been consistent is the lack of organization, communication and pure greed thrust on our community. They turned a great opportunity into a colossal failure by not listening and communicating. Furthermore they continue to over promise and under produce. From GoFest Chicago (which I attended – incredibly hard to believe how poorly they planned & had no back up plans in place) to introducing new game mechanics and stuffing tons of legendaries down our throats at breakneck speed with no thought or care about someone owning 35 Lugias, 12 Mewtwos, and 15+ of every other Legendary etc… They just don’t get. They never have and never will.

          • peponzio

            True there may not be evidence that PoGo has its own way to validate pokestops but it is reasonably logical to assume that being its own game it simply receives new possible sites and somehow decides to turn them on or not. That would explain why portals exist in a game but there is no equivalent in another. Or, it may be an outside algorithm that simply feeds PoGo new stops and reclaims others because of reasons. I can be wrong indeed.

            I do not defend Niantic, nor do I condone their decisions, I only hope to vouch for fairness and improvements. There is much I’d like for them to reconsider and reimplement, and that includes rural gameplay. The problem is the core of how PoGo was built, they used numbers to submit and validate. More people, more submissions, more validations, more numbers. That works on high population density, cities, but fails in low population densities, rural areas.

            I only believe that an adjustment through demographics can help balance out the unfairness in numbers between rural gameplay and city gameplay. By giving more weight to validations in low population densities more stops and gyms can appear, while giving less weight to validations in high population densities can slow down the already inmense number of stops and gyms in cities.

            Niantic has been lacking in communication since day 1 and could just as well improve many of their ways and methods. Giving more dynamicity to rural areas is but one I’d like to see.

            (Example: In city it takes 100 people to validate a point within 5 days and then becomes a pokestop; meanwhile a rural town can have a point validated by let’s say 20 people within 5 days and then it becomes a pokestop.) (This is purely hypothetical numbers I made up)

        • Gustavo Dante

          Thats true… In Ingress my Area is rich of Portals (old ones but true ones) and just cause they’re old portals they don’t import it to Pokemon GO! So we are such as a rural city 🙁 Kiryat Yam, Israel

  • Gaston Rios

    They took magicarp raids from desert areas… not even close a fair game

    • Shekhar Verma

      Magikarp is coming back, check in devloper’s update log

      • Gaston Rios

        Your right!! Today i saw one im so happy niantic do that!!

  • Shane McGrath

    I have a question for everyone. What percentage of all players spoof?

    • spoofer

      100% for me

    • Michal Hušák

      I would not call spoofers players. Ibwould call them lazy p… .

    • Greg

      It’s 100% here where I live. Explanation to all haters (again):

      Used to be less. In fact zero till early summer 2017 in our local community as we were very strict in this area – it was the cause to get booted out of the group.

      We live in the suburb area and the closest gym is about 4 miles away and there are no pokestops in the vicinity (Niantic hadn’t bothered to reply to our requests), and there were loads of spoofers who kept booting us out of gyms (Niantic hadn’t bother either to 100’s of complaints), and with the introduction of legendary raids, all legit players have left or gone with the flow (started spoofing).

      Spoofing doesn’t prevent you from playing legit, as you can do both. In fact, we gather from time to time and do it “the old way”.

      Calling again on Niantic to enable/offer a legal way to do it so that we don’t have to use the third party app. Coins can be bought via the official app only, so gotta keep both versions active anyway 🙂 It’s still a game and it’s supposed to be fun. Look at it from that perspective.

    • Robdebobrob

      No idea. In our city, we have 2 or 3 who do it alot, so they stand out. We have 1 Whatsapp group for our own team (Instinct, 80 people) and 1 for all 3 teams for raids (218 people) that im a member of. Both groups have a no spoofing policy. Had to kick people from it like 2 or 3 times over the past year.
      So as far as i know, in our community its below 5%. Ofcourse there could be alot who do it “discrete” so we dont find out.

  • Greg

    Good communication is a clear step forward. It remains to bee seen if they deliver too.
    I played for about 10 hours yesterday. Did 9 raids of which 7 were at sponsored gyms and two at the parks. I more than qualify by all criteria for the purple beast battle invite, the only pokemon I have been missing since Sept 14 announcement, to complete my pokedex collection. Waiting to see if they keep their promise this time.

    • Greg

      Three more Sprint raids completed today. Out of raid passes, will get myself popcorn and wait 🙂

  • Karl Sangster

    looks like purchasing that social media company, Toon something or other paid off, i assume these are they guys behind all the recent social media updates. good for all of us really, they had no real (active / consistent) social presence, now they have one. lets hope they keep that up

  • Matthieu Oldfield

    Hello Antonio & Pokémon GO Hub team. Just a small thank you for all of your work, its a joy to read your well written and searched articles! Keep up the good work 😉

  • russell_bacon

    Dream on peeps. The best thing they could do is sell out to nintendo. They didnt know what tbey were doing when they launched and they still dont…just scrambling to save … something. Shame but the truth. Nothing they promised came about and im not expecting it to.

  • -ph-

    Kecy v klecy!
    Hey, I do read all the Go Hub stuff since August 2016, but, this is by far the worst marketing leaflet I have seen here so far. Stop kidding … here is nobody interestad abut such bulshit!

    • Greg

      Why bother, you are free to do other things or go somewhere else to share what you see in your mirror…

      I don’t view it as a marketing leaflet as we do also much criticizing And we are ALLOWED to do it. If it were a marketing leaflet that would not be the case. As you can see, there are many of us who ARE interested in sharing opinions, reading the news and trying to suggest improvements for the game. We are here to stay and have fun. It’s all about having fun, without being rude.

  • Piotr Krzywicki

    Well, I just don’t get one thing. Why do you make a praise to Niantic?
    They didn’t do anything really special, maybe except Kanga and Farf, as Thanksgiving event was expected anyway. They just started talking to community after a year and half, thing that they should have been doing from begin, and suddenly some people get hyper hyped because Niantic suddenly realised that they have playing community. It’s not a thing they should be praised for – it’s a thing that should be acknowledged, and followed by questions: why so late? why so little? what about other, important game aspects? what about issues crucial to community, especially regarding rural players situation?

  • Dennis Cunliff

    Thank you Pokemon Go Hub for bringing us such consistent relevant content ^^ and Niantic has really stepped up their game lately! I can only hope that means PvP is on the horizon and gen 3 is coming so soon its gonna be amazing 😀 Don’t listen to the negative ones, they can’t be happy with anything xD

  • Joel Janeiro

    Loving every minute of it. Just keep it coming. I`ve never seen the pokémon go comunity so alive in my town. It looks like christmas evey night with every street and park lured up. Yay !!!!

  • vision33r

    There are maybe like 3 people at my office that still plays since last year when nearly everybody was playing it. Good work Niantic.

  • Pokemon Trainer N

    maybe they’ll stop reporting on draconius now…