Nintendo’s Pokémon Go Aims To Regain Popularity

Nintendo’s (NTDOY) hit game Pokémon Go is trying to regain its former popularity with updates that make the game more attractive to players. The augmented reality app has players find Pokémon throughout their surroundings with the use of GPS and internet services. Niantic and Nintendo want to bring the game back near its peak in global users. The game’s developers want to add features that will bring in new players as well.

Nintendo and Niantic Labs, the developer of Pokémon Go, launched the game in early July. When the game was launched, it was surprisingly innovative with features that had never been seen before. After the game’s limited release in the US, Australia and New Zealand on July 6, Nintendo shares soared. Pokémon Go was the fastest app ever to cross 500 million downloads and make $500 million in revenue.

As of September 26th, 2016, about 1 in 10 smartphone users were playing Pokémon GO in the United States, according to AppAnnie. In Japan, the percentage was even higher, with roughly 1 in 4 smartphone users playing the game. However, since the first weeks after its launch, the game’s popularity has cooled a bit. According to the Google Trends Tool, searches for “Pokémon Go” on Google has fallen to one-tenth as many times in the week of September 18 than during the peak of the game’s popularity during the week of July 10.

The latest update to the game went live on September 25. The update allows players to use certain items with the Pokémon Go Plus wearable accessory and show them where their monsters have been caught. Niantic removed the feature previously due to its slow loading time. The new Capture Feature will be displayed on the Pokémon’s information screen and show text showing which city and state it was caught in.

Pokémon nests and spawns have changed dramatically over the past few days, according to various reports. A lot of nests have migrated and spawn locations and times have changed. Pokémon nests now appear to be spawning evolutions more often than usual, appearing at a higher rate than with previous updates. A new update for “Pokémon GO” is in the works for both Android and iOS, according to game’s official Facebook page.

More than 70 players have filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) since the release of the game in July. According to Polygon, 56 complaints are aimed at Niantic, while the rest were directed at Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. The majority of complaints are related to money. Some players lost money after Niantic started blocking third-party apps and banned accounts using those apps. Other complaints from users include privacy issues, the safety of children, and private property being used for Pokémon Gyms.