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Niantic CEO on Pokemon GO – 2017 update plans, Legendary Pokemon, cheating, missing features

Posted on March 5, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in Mobile, News

This week, Wired’s German division conducted an interview with Niantic CEO John Hanke. Hanke was able to answer some important questions about plans for Pokemon GO in 2017 and more.

First, Hanke was asked about what fans can expect from Pokemon GO’s second big update this year. He confirms that “playing together and gym battles” will be primarily addressed.

“There are a couple of areas that need to be improved – one of them being playing together and gym battles. We released those in an incomplete state. We knew from Ingress that cooperation and planning can be a lot of fun. When people have a common goal, then that’s a strong incentive to meet up with friends or even with people you don’t know.”

“The gameplay in gym battles is very limited. They just don’t work as well as we wish they would. We will overhaul this aspect of the game to ensure more teamwork and to give people a bigger incentive to receive the rewards from gym battles.”

As for Pokemon GO’s other two updates in 2017, Hanke said: “We’re still discussing goals and features we want to implement for the other two updates.” Niantic is thinking hard about how players could potentially trade and fight with each other.

It also looks like Niantic wants to deliver on fan requests to bring in Mewtwo, Mew, and the elemental birds associated with the three teams. “I can say with certainty that we will see more of that this year,” Hanke said.

Hanke also touched on cheating in Pokemon GO, which Niantic wants to get under control. Many players are spoofing their GPS with special apps to play from home.

“I don’t think it’s the user’s fault when an app or a website offers him a shortcut. It’s our responsibility to prevent those things or to not make them harder than they currently are.”

“I wish they wouldn’t do it. Through cheating, they’re not allowing themselves to experience the game to its fullest. The reward of Pokemon GO is being active and getting to see places you normally wouldn’t see.”

Lastly, Hanke was asked why Pokemon GO was released without so many features. He had this to say in response:

“When we left Google, we had a limited amount of money, a funding of 35 million dollars. We had a fairly large team and a relatively short amount of time. We worked a long time on it and eventually that just exhausts people. We felt it was time to get noticed.”


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  • Fan Bao

    I have a friend who proudly talks about how he cheated to achieve this and that in this game, and as a result our other friends who used to play this game no longer interested in playing this game anymore. (I myself only stuck with Pokémon main series)

  • JCMasterpiece

    SERIOUSLY!!! You don’t have a problem with players cheating! There have been a lot of reasons for me to stop playing, and I almost have stopped many times, but this has got to take the cake! Seriously? I refuse to cheat, and I find it insulting that the creators don’t see players using location spoofing as a problem!

    • Indielink

      Ummm Hanke literally says he wishes players wouldn’t do that. Did you not read the article?

      • JCMasterpiece

        I definitely read the article. I’ve actually read the interview on other sites as well. He states that he doesn’t like that people do, but doesn’t condone it. As such he is telling cheaters that it’s acceptable as long as the tools are available. That is a HUGE problem.

        • Katfeathers

          I think you’re mixing up condemn and condone. He’s not being supportive of cheaters, but it’s also easier for him to go after the people that make cheating possible than individual cheaters.

          • JCMasterpiece

            The problem is that by not condemning, he is condoning. He makes it clear that they are not going to stop people that they know are cheating they are just going to attempt to deal with the tools used to cheat. Even if they remove some of the tools, there will be new ones made. As long as there are no repercussions for cheating, they are only encouraging people to cheat.

          • Adam Taylor

            I agree. Saying that he wishes they wouldn’t cheat, and mentioning how it’s not really their fault? No, that’s just stupid. That’s not how you run a MULTIPLAYER game.

        • Indielink

          And he followed it up by saying they are working on getting rid of the apps that help players cheat.

    • Adam Taylor

      It’s rather pathetic to see the CEO basically say he doesn’t give a crap about cheaters. I’m sorry, when someone cheats in a game with competitive elements (you know, those gyms all over the place), then serious action NEEDS to be taken. Accounts need to be banned. It’s not hard at all for them to see who’s cheating, using spoofs and all that.

      Saying that it’s not their fault for cheating? No, it’s ENTIRELY their fault. And they need to be banned for it. If the game was entirely single player, then it wouldn’t matter and they can do what they want. But it isn’t. And with battles and trading to be added down the road, the cheating stuff has to stop.

  • TinyRick

    I have a disabled friend who can’t get to some places in Pokémon GO or gets to tired but uses a Joystick app to walk his character to the Pokéstops he wants or moves his character to a gym he wants to battle.
    I get cheating to level up us bad but making the GPS apps not work would ruin the game and take away a lot of fun for him.

    • John J

      I’m sorry but maybe this game isn’t for him. It’s his own fault he thought a game that revolved around walking was for him being disabled

      • David George Cooksey

        Stop being rude would you like if you disabled and can’t walk

        • sparkn

          How would you like it if you had to deal with gym stalkers monitoring gyms from their living rooms and taking them out constantly within seconds of takeovers? In the wild, fine. From their living rooms, disgusting cheaters, handicapped or not.

        • John J

          That’s not rude. You however are rude for calling someone rude for stating a fact. Should we also let his disabled friend play in the Super Bowl? He can play normal Pokemon and stop demanding that the Pokemon game they made for WALKING cater to him.

    • Indielink

      While I understand and empathize, maybe this isn’t the Pokemon game for him?

  • Blake Good

    One thing that would make me very happy is if Gold, Silver, and Crystal were added to the 3DS Virtual Console. Maybe on November 21, 2019.

  • Darlene Wolfe

    I have been playing since July 9th 2016, I’ve walked about 400 miles and lost 20lbs… found little shops I never knew existed, made friends… love this game… guess I’m now a gaming Grams! I’m 59 with 7 grandkids! And they love going with me to play!

  • Wow they should stop cheater!

  • I can tell you one thing. I’m not going to stop Spoofing. And Niantic won’t be able to control that.

  • I wonder how they’ll do the birds.