On Thursday, August 5, there is a planned one-day boycott of Pokémon GO in protest of Niantic’s rollback of popular stay-at-home features.
Tensions between the Pokémon GO player base and the game’s developer, Niantic, seem to be reaching a breaking point as a significant portion of the players have planned a boycott of the augmented reality mobile game. This comes in the midst of the series’s 25-year anniversary, which has been officially branded “Pokémon 25.”
When COVID-19 first started to shut down the world back in 2020, Niantic made some significant changes to Pokémon GO that adjusted the game for a player base that was largely stuck at home while simultaneously encouraging social distancing behavior. The changes proved to be massively successful as 2020 became Pokémon GO‘s most financially successful year to date. Now, however, Niantic is starting to return Pokémon GO to its pre-pandemic state and a significant part of the player base is so deeply opposed to the decision that they have planned a boycott.
Thursday, August 5 is when “Pokémon NO Day” will commence according to player and Twitter user Masterful 27 TL47. “Pokémon NO Day” is set to be a day-long boycott of the augmented reality title. Other Pokémon GO players supporting the boycott include Twitter users Kratos TL50 and Kaito Nolan who, along with Masterful 27 TL47, are including #BoycottNiantic in their posts.
Today is a sad day. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in the relationship between Niantic and the Pokémon GO playerbase.
A thread 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/GBhvNQnVva
— Kratos TL50 (@KratosPogo) August 1, 2021
I’m overwhelmed by the response of the community & I wanted to thank everyone who shared my thread
However, this doesn’t end here. We need to send them a message, & money is the universal language
— Kratos TL50 (@KratosPogo) August 3, 2021
Kai and I continue to take a stand for ourselves and we won’t spend anymore money on #PokemonGo
We lost motivation big time and don’t even care about opening the game so feel free to delete us for being inactive
We won’t be driven by fomo anymore #BoycottNiantic
— Kaito Nolan (@KaitoNolan) August 2, 2021
Niantic was already on some shaky ground with its player base as some expressed their frustrations with how the title has become pay-to-win, a mentality that seems to be spilling over into other Pokémon video games as well. This all comes in the wake of Pokémon GO recently crossing the threshold of $5 billion in income since launch, or an average of $1 billion per year. It is unclear just how much of an impact a one-day boycott will have on the augmented reality as well as Niantic’s yearly profits.
The decision to roll back the stay-at-home features, while expected, seems peculiar for multiple reasons. There are growing concerns over the rise of the COVID-19 delta variant and stripping away the pandemic-safe features now might be poor timing. It is also odd that Niantic would choose to remove some of the features that netted them their largest yearly profit to date. Whatever the developer’s reasoning is, it has created a rift between it and the Pokémon GO player base. August 5 will show precisely just how wide that rift has become no matter how few or many players participate in the boycott.
Pokémon Go is available now on iOS and Android.
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