Pokemon Go One Year Later: Why I’m Still Playing

Pokemon Go was a world-wide phenomenon when it first launched. Parks were mobbed, traffic was stopped, and everyone was talking about the new craze. Like most fads, Pokemon Go was a victim of its own popularity. The developers couldn’t keep up with the server demand and struggled to keep things fresh enough to maintain the casual player’s interest. But, really, is that surprising? Nobody expected Go to reach the levels it did and nothing holds the public’s interest at that level for long. The developers also had to contend with load issues caused by third party apps that strained their servers to the breaking point. Go was painfully slow in the golden days, until Niantic blocked the third party apps.

Nowadays, when you ask people about Go, the response you often get is “Oh I used to play that.” However, there are many out there who still play on a daily basis. The daily user number for Go is quite respectable, even if it will never again hit the crazy numbers at the height of the hype. I am one of these players.

Why do I stick around? Many reasons, really. I like to walk and playing Go is a fun way to make my stroll around the same old neighborhood interesting. I have learned new things about my city from the Go Pokestops, since many are located at landmarks. (Our local park has vernal pools for the endangered fairy shrimp – who knew?)

I like to collect things in video games. I truly want to catch them all. I was getting close to finished with generation 1 when they released generation 2. Suddenly, there were new Pokemon everywhere! I eagerly await generation 3.

The events that let you collect Pokemon that don’t normally appear in your area have revitalized my interest at various low points. They make “catching them all” seem possible. 

The gyms have been a side feature for me, at best. I dabble but don’t put any real effort into it. The new gym update hasn’t changed that (although it has increased my coin earnings).

But most of all, I’m still having fun with it. Are there things that Niantic could do to make it better? Yeah, sure there are. I would love to see trading introduced, if for no other reason than to get a chance to obtain the Europe/Asia/Australian Pokemon without a long expensive plane ride. It would be great if the rate you earn candy by walking with your buddy was faster. More events would help with variety of spawns. And generation 3 or legendaries would be a great way to expand the game. Niantic has plans for the 1 year anniversary of Go, so maybe I will get some of the things on my wishlist. In the meantime, I will keep throwing my Ultra Balls and hope that one day a Dragonite hatches from my 10km egg.

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