The Forbes Columnist Paul Tassi is reporting that the five minute ‘Pokémon GO’ Valentine’s event is the Game’s Worst Yet
Usually when Niantic throws a new Pokémon GO event, I write up some strategies for it based on my own experience with the various new spawns, bonuses and additions to the game. But with the Valentine’s event, the sum total of my experience with the event can be summed up rather quickly:
– The event started
– I saw a Porygon two blocks away from me
– I walked and caught that Porygon
– The end
The entire process took now more than five minutes. I already have a few Chanseys and Lickitungs, the other ultra-rares now spawning with this event, and Pokémon like Clefairy and Jigglypuff were my first few buddies so I don’t really care about amassing candy for them now that I already have Clefable and Wigglytuff. I have Exeggcute and Slowbro. I…just don’t really care about anything that this event has to offer, and that’s why I’m ultimate very disappointed with what we got here. For my mind, given both what’s being offered and the timing of the event, this is the worst one Niantic has thrown yet, and my suspicion is that it will end up being the least profitable for them as well.
IT MAY HAVE SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AND IN KEEPING WITH THE HOLIDAY TO SPAWN
It may have seemed like a good idea and in keeping with the holiday to spawn “pink” Pokémon everywhere, which opens up the door for players missing Chansey, Lickitung or Porygon for ages to finally fill that slot in their Pokedex. But again, depending on spawns (and there are some issues with biomes in this update where certain “pinks” won’t appear), that can talk all of five minutes. Unlike the starter event, where you had to catch 10, 20, 30 Charmander, Bulbasaur or Squirtle in order to build up their final evolutions, once you have one of each of these rares, there’s little point continuing unless you feel like being prepping for Gen 2 (Blissey, Porygon2) even though the entire evolution/candy generation system of the game could change by then.
Similarly, yes, it’s nice to have double candy back and that was why Halloween was everyone’s favorite Pokémon GO event previously, but that was October. It’s now February. That’s no longer quite as appealing as it once was, with a lot less slots in the Pokedex to be filled, and candy/reduced buddy distance usually only helping with one or two Pokémon at a time, at best.
AT THIS POINT, LAPSED PLAYERS ARE NOT GOING TO COME BACK IN DROVES FOR SMT AS INNOCUOUS
At this point, lapsed players are not going to come back in droves for something as innocuous as a “pink Pokémon” event, or if they do, it will be to catch one or two things they’re missing, and then leave. More avid players may like bonuses like six hour lures and double candy, but again, as Pokedexes are almost filled, the benefit of both those things are a lot more limited than they once were. Like, literally nothing helps me personally at all unless I’m getting Abra, Omanyte, Grimer or Koffing candy in pursuit of those evolutions.
I will acknowledge the notion that not every Pokémon GO event needs to reinvent the game, and sometimes there just need to be little small bonus events like the one we’re seeing right now.
But at some point yes, there does need to be an event or update that reinvents the game or adds on to it in major ways, and eight months after the game’s release, so little has been added to the game it’s almost comical. The buddy system? Gen 2 babies? Ditto? These are the “major” additions. We have no legendary Pokémon to catch, we have no full Gen 2 release, we have no sweeping changes to lacking aspects of the game or the addition of new gameplay opportunities like NPCs or PvP. We have…pink Pokémon.
This is the reason that ahead of the Valentine’s event, many Pokémon GO faithful were finally closing up shop as there just is not anything to do in the game. I watched every big Pokémon GO YouTube channel claim they were about to run out of content, and while Valentine’s may have given them an extra video or two as a stay of execution, this event has fundamentally changed absolutely nothing about the game. It’s a gift of a couple rare Pokémon to those who don’t have them, which is nice, but that’s it. And at this moment, when the community is dying for more, that isn’t enough.
ALL OF THIS SEEMS TO COME BACK TO THE IDEA THAT POKEMON GO IS JUST BIG FOR NIANTIC
All of this seems to come back to the idea that Pokémon GO is just too big for Niantic to full get a handle on. Yes, the game made a billion dollars in 2016, and surely some of that should be reinvested in the game to make it a more compelling experience. But it requires a lot more than just throwing money at a wall and hoping it rearranges itself as new features. Niantic has to scale up dramatically, and lord knows The Pokémon Company and Nintendo don’t seem to be lending them much aid. It’s like what happened with the server overload at the game’s launch, they just hadn’t prepared for this. And in this case, they probably had not prepared for a game with a community this demanding and constantly thirsty for new content. Once they do scale to match the size of the game, maybe we will start to see these proper updates, but that’s a long process, it seems, which is why we are where we are now.
Until then, I guess I’m going to hope for an “Earth Day” fight pollution event so I can get my Grimer/Muk at last. Gift me those Pokedex slots!
But seriously, GO is in trouble if they don’t get a handle on a timely schedule for the introduction of new Pokémon and game features. “In trouble” doesn’t mean failure necessarily, but it means they will be making a lot less than they would with a playerbase that was actually excited and engaged with the game, which is not how I would describe the current state of the community, even after this most recent event