ByTim Horton, writer at
Business Development Manager at Universally Speaking. @TimHortonGame | Email: [email protected]
Tim Horton

It hasn’t been the smoothest of launches for Pokémon GO. There have been a few teething problems, but Niantic have been (fairly) swift in correcting most issues. One particular problem that had trainers, all around the world, up in arms was that totally incomprehensible tracking system that Pokémon GO came with. You're getting warmer...

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It was a good idea in theory, but a theory was all it ever really was for us exploratory trainers. The old system was crude in design and never worked as it should have, meaning that hunting Pokémon in Pokémon GO was more about luck than skill.

Reddit user Chopkins9 said:

I looked for 15 minutes with no luck and [the Pokémon] disappeared, now I’m quitting Pokémon Go. What’s the point of this game without tracking?

It now seems however, that Niantic are finally trying to remedy this great tracker tragedy with the implementation of an all new, totally revised system. The new system has done away with the basic 1, 2, 3 foot print measure, replacing it with actual nearby locations. Sounds good – take a look at the patch update below.

As you can see, there have been a few new tweaks to the game which will all help to improve the ratings of the app at the App Store, and improve players' gaming experiences tenfold.

How it works

This new system will use real world locations to help trainers find nearby Pokémon. It is broken down into two segments, 'Nearby' and 'Sightings'.


Nearby Pokémon can be found in close proximity to your local Pokéstops. If you click on the individual Pokémon you are trying to capture, it will zoom out and provide you with an overhead view of the Pokéstop it is nearest to - like a waypoint. Users are reporting that these Pokémon that are suggested to be nearby to the Pokéstop can usually be found within a square block of said Pokéstop.

The Sightings segment (grass background) are less to do with Pokéstop and more to do with random geographical locations. These are the Pokémon that are nearby but not near a Pokéstop. It is suspected that this will update (live) with each and every Pokémon sighting/capture that occurs in your region.

Clicking on Pokémon in this segment currently doesn't do anything, but it is suspected that this will also provide players with real world snaps of where the Pokémon was last sighted. So, in this respect, you may still be walking around aimlessly but safe in the knowledge that it is not near a Pokéstop.

Also, If the Pokémon has vamoosed before you get there, it will let you know. This was one of the major niggles coming from within the community - Pokémon that had despawned would remain on the tracker. This has been remedied with a pop up message that alerts the trainer of any fleeing Pokémon.

The only catch is – not everyone has access to this new system yet. Niantic are rolling this new mechanic out slowly to test and perfect. Looks solid so far though. Have you got access to the new system?

Is this the game changer we have all been waiting for?

It could well be, this latest patch does seem to address the majority of complaints Niantic have received, however, there is still some work to do in regards to non Pokéstop related content.

This latest tracking system update will change the way we will all play the game, so in that respect, yes, it is a game changer, but it is limited. This new mechanic is great for those that live in an area with loads of Pokéstops, but for those that live in areas outside of the cities this update is less effective.

This is the problem with having Pokéstop reliant updates; those that are not able to access Pokéstops on a regular basis are restricted in gameplay. However, the Sightings segment introduced to the tracker could go a long way into fixing this issue. Pokémon populations are on the increase in rural areas and I am told that Niantic are working hard on providing rural gamers with the same Pokémon GO content as city folks.

This is certainly one giant leap forward for Niantic and, on the whole, will fix a lot of the tracking issues. This will also allow the servers some room to breathe – the old system relied on constant pinging back and forth between each individual player and the server in order to figure out how far away those nearby Pokémon were. Imagine how many pings were sent every second with over 80 million players playing at once?!

Will trading be next? What do you want from the next update?


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