When Pokémon GO was initially released in July 2016, it became a worldwide phenomenon. I don’t think anybody could have predicted the impact Pokémon GO had on gamers and on society as a whole. Suddenly, people were going outside more, exploring their cities. Staggering numbers of players would gather in public places to catch Pokémon. The much-anticipated app got an incredible 5 million players. This number is now much, much higher! Just think about it. From long-time Pokémon fans to new enthusiasts, people of all ages, ethnicities, and gender were downloading the app.
Now, the Pokémon GO craze has ended, for a variety of reasons. While a significant number of players still have the app, many of us ended up uninstalling it. Whether you got bored of the game, pushed to your last nerve by Niantic’s customer service, or simply got tired of the micro-transactions, everyone who did uninstall the app had a very good reason for doing so.
And yet, a group of dedicated fans still persevere. They love the game, and would never dream of uninstalling it. Whether they play casually or are still regularly hunting Pokémon in the hope of catching them all, these players will defend the game despite its many issues. While I was never what you would call a hardcore player, I did very much enjoy playing Pokémon GO, and this article is in no way meant to “bash” the game. Rather, my intent is to point out problems that some fans won’t admit or perhaps don’t know about.
25 Problem With The Teams
In Pokémon GO, you get to pick your very own team. Instead of the teams fans knew from the anime or the games, such as Team Rocket, Team Magma, Team Aqua, etc., the game offered three teams: Team Instinct, Team Mystic, and Team Valor. Each individual team has its pros and cons (though let’s face it, none of them are as cool as good old Team Rocket), but Team Instinct has more cons than pros…because we simply don’t have enough players. No one wants to pick Team Instinct, and that’s a shame. Maybe a sorting system would have helped?
24 You Practically Need A Portable Charger To Play
Pokémon GO drains your battery faster than you can say “gotta catch 'em all”. If you’re heading out to play, you might find yourself having to frequently stop to charge your phone. For players who enjoy going on long walks and catching Pokémon on the way, it’s beyond frustrating! Many of my friends who got really into the game resorted to buying a portable charger to be able to play the way they wanted to. Just think of the poor parents of children who got addicted to Pokémon GO and started asking for a portable charger just so they could play their game!
23 Some Pokémon Are Only Available In Certain Regions
Bad news if you’re a completionist: you won’t be able to catch them all, unless you play Pokémon GO during a trip around the world. Some Pokémon are everywhere in certain countries (Tauros in North America, for example), but impossible to find elsewhere.
It can get really frustrating for players who want to catch as many different Pokémon as they can.
Not to mention, if you are lucky enough to take a trip around the world, you’ll probably have other things to do than catching virtual Pokémon.
22 The Game Gets Too Repetitive To Keep People Interested
When Pokémon GO first came out, the hype it created was almost surreal. People everywhere were going outside with their phones in the hope of catching Pokémon, and masses were gathering in areas that had lots of PokeStops.
Now, many of us have uninstalled the game from our phones.
Why is that? Well, to put it bluntly, the game got really boring, really fast. Updates were slow and didn’t include much content, and the game mechanic was simply too repetitive to keep people interested.
21 "I'm A Passenger," I Swear!
If you’ve played the game, you’ve probably seen this now-familiar warning: “You’re Going Too Fast! Pokémon GO should not be played while driving.” Of course, you can hit the “I’m a passenger” button to make it go away, but this notification quickly got on players’ nerves.
Of course, it’s an important safety message, and you should most definitely not play while you drive.
The problem? Depending on how accurate your phone GPS is, you might get the notification while you’re on foot, or even when you’re standing still.
20 The Combat System
Fans who played both the card games and the video games loved Pokémon's combat system, which allowed you to use a variety of attacks and accessories (berries, etc.) to defeat your opponent. You had to think strategically about your attacks and keep in mind which type was effective against your opponent’s type. And, let’s face it, the anime makes it looks like so much fun! In comparison, Pokémon GO’s combat system felt lacking and disappointed many fans. Sure, it’s fun the first couple of rounds, but it made us miss the old Pokémon games.
19 The PokéStop System Feels Artificial
The combat system is boring, and the PokéStop system is just plain weird. For players who were used to encountering loads of Pokémon as soon as they ventured in the tall grass, having to go to a designed “hub” and wait for Pokémon to spawn felt very odd. And yes, you can go near water to find water-type Pokémon, for example, but in general, the Pokémon that popped at PokéStops seemed very random. The whole system feels very artificial and frustrated many players.
18 Not Much Fun Outside Of Big Cities
The other problem with PokeStops is that there’s just not enough of them in small cities or rural areas. Players who lived in big, busy cities with loads of parks and hubs where PokéStops could be placed were distinctively privileged.
If you live in the countryside, tough luck!
You’ll need to get to the nearest city to find enough PokéStops to play the game. Sure, Pokémon sometimes randomly spawn outside of PokéStops, but too rarely to let you properly play the game.
17 Questionable PokéStop Locations
Even if you are lucky enough to live somewhere where there are plenty of PokéStops, you might find yourself scratching your head in confusion when you see where some of them are. PokéStops are sometimes in the seedier areas of cities and will lead players, sometimes young players, to questionable and possibly dangerous locations. This really seems like an issue the developers should have thought of, especially since Pokémon GO attracts such a young audience. While it’s great that it has encouraged kids to go outside more, basic security really should have been more of a concern!
Ah, micro-transactions. They’re everywhere these days, in computer, console, and smartphone games alike. Pokémon GO is free to play, so of course, it had to include micro-transactions. This seems logical enough as far as we’re concerned.
Many players would probably prefer the option of micro-transactions over pesky ads while they’re trying to catch Pokémon.
And yet, for players who don’t want to (or simply can’t) pay money to play the game, Pokémon GO gets frustrating and repetitive even faster, as the game is much slower if you don’t pay anything.
15 Hard To Win Battles If You’re Just Starting Out
Especially in a context where you’re playing the game without micro-transactions, catching and battling Pokémon and taking down gyms is really hard when you’re just starting out. This is fine if you just want to play casually, catching Pokémon on your way to school or to work. For players who just started the game, however, it’s very discouraging, as it takes a very long time to level up your character enough to be able to face players who’ve been playing (or paying) for a while.
14 Unable To Battle Our Friends
Being unable to take down gyms when you’re starting out would be less frustrating if the game offered other combat options, like friendly matches between players. You’d be able to battle friends who started at the same time as you, enabling both of you to level up faster and experience every aspect of the game. Sure, with the new Raids, you can fight alongside your friends. But the option to battle your friends’ Pokémon is still unavailable, which saddened many players, especially those of us who loved the card games when we were younger.
13 The Many Glitches
All games have glitches, but Pokémon GO seems to have more than most. Anyone who’s played the game will be able to tell you how often it crashes. It really is a shame, especially when you add the many glitches to the low replayability of the game. Not only is the game slow and repetitive after a while, it also crashes quite often, leaving players wondering why they downloaded it in the first place. Some glitches affect combat, others affect your Pokemon, sometimes the game just freezes altogether, and sometimes, the servers are down, leaving frustrated players unable to catch Pokémon.
12 And The Loading Times
Even when the servers aren’t down and the game isn’t glitching Pokémon GO can be frustrating to play because of the loading times.
You could find yourself staring at the screen for a while before you can finally play.
This is especially true for players who have an older phone (provided the phone in question still supports the game, as Pokémon GO isn’t supported on some older phones), or for players who don’t have a great WiFi connection. Not to mention, the game does lag quite a bit for some players.
11 Find WiFi, Or Wave Goodbye To Your Data
Not only does Pokémon GO drain your phone’s battery, it also uses quite a bit of data. If you’re not playing somewhere that has WiFi, this will quite literally cost you, especially if your phone plan isn't unlimited. The game doesn’t use up data at the same speed it uses your battery, thankfully. However, data usage is still something you have to watch out for. I’m willing to bet many parents wish their kid was more careful with the amount of data the game uses!
10 The “Buddy” System Is Flawed
If you don’t want to catch lots of Pokémon to get candy, you also have the option to pick a Pokémon as your “buddy” and walk it. The further you walk, the more candy you get. It seems like a good idea, but sadly, the system is flawed. Depending on how accurate your GPS is, the time it takes you to get enough candy to evolve your Pokémon might be wildly different from the time it takes another player. Sometimes, you’ll walk the required distance to get candy, but the game won’t recognize it!
9 Candies, In General, Take Way Too Long To Get
Walking your “buddy” only gives you candy for that specific Pokémon, which is great if you’ve got a Pokémon you really want to evolve, but not so great if you want to evolve more than one. Not to mention, walking only gives you 1-5 candy per 3km walked, meaning if you’re short on candy, you might be walking for a while. The other ways to get candy are by catching the specific Pokémon you want to evolve, or by hatching eggs, but both of these processes are very slow. This all adds to the frustrating elements of the game.
8 Wild Pokémon Disappear Too Fast
If you’re used to playing with your friends, you’ve probably found yourself in a situation like this. Someone might yell: Look! There’s an Onix here!, but by the time you get your phone, open the app, and attempt to locate the Pokémon, chances are it’s already gone. Wild Pokémon, especially rare ones (Pidgeys and Rattatas seem to stick around for longer), disappear really fast, which is problematic considering the point I’ve already raised about the loading times. You’ll need speed and perseverance to play this game!
7 Encouraging Trespassing
Remember what I said earlier about inappropriately placed PokéStops? This is a problem in more ways than one. Some aren’t placed in areas that are dangerous, but instead, they’re on other people’s property, meaning landowners have to deal with trespassers attempting to catch a Ghastly or a Flareon on their property. If the PokéStop is in a place where people are working, or in an otherwise restricted area, this might encourage people to do dangerous things to access it.
6 Terrible Customer Support
I’ve talked quite a bit about glitches, freezes, and loading times. This wouldn’t be so bad if Niantic’s customer support wasn’t absolutely terrible. Don’t believe me? Google “Pokémon GO customer support” and find out for yourself. Players all over the world have been complaining about the company’s “non-existent” customer support (as one redditer put it). This person said they had to go to their bank to get their money back, which is crazy! When faced with problems, Niantic was either entirely unhelpful or completely silent.
5 No Nostalgia Factor
One thing that disappointed many fans was that Pokémon GO is a little too different from traditional Pokémon games. Innovation is a good thing, of course, and the way that the game incorporated augmented reality into its mechanics was very refreshing… but we didn’t really get the nostalgia factor. This drove away long-time players, who were expecting more references to the games they played during their childhood. It also disappointed fans of the anime, who barely recognized their favorite show in the game.
4 Can’t Change Teams
As I mentioned at the very beginning of this article, Pokémon GO introduces three teams. As things are, they are extremely unbalanced; most people are Team Mystic, Team Valor also has quite a few players, and Team Instinct just doesn’t seem to interest players.
This wouldn’t be so bad if you had the option to change teams, which, sadly, you don’t.
Being able to change teams might also make players feel like there’s more content in the game, and enhance the replayability of Pokémon GO.
3 The Game Feels Empty
Like I said earlier, the augmented reality added a new, refreshing dimension to Pokémon GO. The problem is, it didn’t add any content. This is one of the main problems with Pokémon GO and one of the reasons the game couldn’t keep people interested.
With no real story and very limited content, the game felt very empty.
This is somewhat paradoxical, as Pokémon GO managed to be both a “cultural phenomenon” (postfunnel.com) that captivated millions of players, and a terrible disappointment, content-wise.
2 It’s Encouraging People To Look At The World Through Their Screen
One of the positive aspects of Pokémon GO is that the game encouraged people to get out and explore their surroundings, instead of staying cooped up at home all day. It got a lot of praise for that. Physically speaking, it’s great. Psychologically speaking, however, there’s a couple of problems. Pokémon GO encourages players to go out and explore, yes, but through their phone screen. You know these people at concerts who film so much, they end up experiencing the concert through their phone? Pokémon GO does exactly that, to a much larger extent.
1 It Can Actually Be Really Dangerous
I’ve briefly mentioned this throughout this article: Pokémon GO can be extremely dangerous. There’s potential driving accidents, there are PokeStops in unsafe locations, etc. The list goes on. People have actually lost their life because of Pokémon GO, which is truly horrifying. Not only has the number of traffic incidents directly gone up because of the game, but it’s also gotten people badly wounded. More horrifying still is the number of attacks that were either helped or provoked by the app.