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Pokémon Go is already a massive community of players enjoying the same smartphone game, and most of the experiences have been positive. Still, the app is not without flaws.
It’s only been a week since the launch, but we’ve already keyed in (along with the rest of the world) on some areas where Nintendo, The Pokémon Company and co-creator Niantic can make substantial improvements. Some of these things will take time but others are pretty quick fixes. Developers please take note, for humanity’s sake.
The number one gripe with this game (though others might be more important) is that the app has to stay open to grant you credit for your steps taken, and to alert you of nearby Pokémon. It’s a serious battery drain to keep it open though. Other apps keep track of steps and distance traveled without needing to be open: why can’t this one? This is the biggest functionality problem with the game, and I think everyone will be more happy once they can go for a walk without checking to make sure the app is running every few yards.
A Substantially Scaled-Back Permissions Policy for Google
We understand the need for basic account info and location services access with an app that’s location based. But access to email, search history and a dozen other things that this game shouldn’t be going near is too much. Pokémon Go doesn’t need to send emails from your Gmail account. Period.
A Social Network of Some Kind
It doesn’t have to be a Facebook killer, but something to share/enjoy/experience the game with your friends would be nice. I appreciate the ability to meet new people while exploring new streets, but I want to brag to my friends when I find something truly special, and I want to be able to trade and battle with them too. More on that later.
Battles Somewhere Besides Gyms
In keeping with the social network, we also want to be able to battle more. Unless you’re lucky enough to live or work near one of the hallowed gyms, you have to travel quite a distance to actually put your Pokémon to use. We don’t mind a lot of walking to collect them, but if you can’t enjoy using them from home, there’s only so much to enjoy.
Having a bunch of Pokémon is great, but being able to trade candy, Pokémon themselves, and other items from the game would improve the game experience thoroughly. We want our land-locked friend who works a night shift to be able to trade those nocturnal Pokémon for our water-dwelling ones from the coast, and ideally without having to meet up in town.
Reduced Battery Usage
I’m sure they’re hard at work on this already, but the app needs to use less battery life, especially for longer hunting excursions. Two hours of power (generously estimated) is not adequate for a game that wants you to spend the whole day exploring town. And while the screen saver feature might shave a few percentage points off, it’s still a fairly ravenous eater of power. Scale it back.