New wave of Routes published in Pokémon GO

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A new wave of Routes has just been published in Pokémon GO, following weeks (or sometimes even months) of being stuck in review! This news was shared on reddit, after one of the Trainers noticed that 4 out of 7 submitted Routes they submitted went live.

If you haven’t been following along the whole Routes drama, Niantic has been employing a mix of AI-assisted reviews and human reviews for each Route. This resulted in some Routes being instantly published, while others were stuck in review for weeks and months on end.

Judging by the comments on Reddit, we’re seeing some old Routes getting published, some new ones getting rejected, and a general mixed reception:

  • “Can confirm. Two of my three in months-long Limbo were published. I was even about to resubmit one of them today to try and get it auto-published, but it looks like I didn’t have to!”
  • “I have just had 18 rejected – for unsafe areas. They are all along footpaths.”
  • “Check your pending list – I just had 4/7 go live!”

Routing Problems

Routes are currently the scarcest real-world data point Niantic has, and if their recent efforts to promote them is anything to judge upon, they seem quite important to the company.

Mateo, a brand new non-playable-character (NPC), has been added as a permanent fixture of Routes in order to promote the feature, and to make it easier to get a Vivillon medal. The player base has reacted as one might expect, with very little enthusiasm towards the new NPC on the block.

This is should be very understandable, as the issue with Routes was never about a lack of NPCs, but rather about the lack of Routes at all. Some players live in areas where Routes are abundant, while others have to drive for hours to visit a single Route.

Combine that with limited availability of who can and who cannot create Routes, and you have a problem at your hands.

Right now the situation is improving, but a lot of Trainers did express their frustration with Niantic’s confusing review process, and acceptance criteria. Some Routes tend to get rejected despite being completely valid, while others are accepted, even though they traverse unsafe areas, sometimes even going straight through concrete buildings.

Route rejection reasons

Here’s what Niantic says about possible reasons as to why a Route might be rejected. Common reasons that Routes are rejected include, but are not limited to:

  • The Route travels through a private residence, sensitive location, daycare, or grade school.
  • The Route features drinking or other adult establishments.
  • The Route features inaccessible, dangerous, or unsafe areas.
  • The Route title or description is abusive, inappropriate, or features personally identifiable information.
  • The Route features game cheats or spam.

From our conversations with Niantic, we’re not really sure why a large number of Routes is getting rejected, but we are also not sure if Reddit and other social media comments should be trusted on this topic.

Response and selection bias both exist, and it is quite likely that Trainers whose Routes were rejected are more likely to comment on online forums, skewing the perception that most Routes are rejected.

Without any concrete data to measure the rejection rate, we really can’t say whether or not Niantic’s AI/human review process is problematic at this moment. We’ll keep an eye on this and let you know if we get any new information.

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Zeroghan started the Hub in July 2016 and hasn't had much sleep since. A lover of all things Pokémon, web development, and writing.

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