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Pokémon GO has become the top free game in the App Store and Google Play stores in such a short time. It’s undoubtedly popular among players around the world, even though it’s not yet available in all countries.

Nevertheless, a recent update removed the footsteps Pokémon tracking feature from the game and left many users upset, and now the game developers have released an official response to the criticism they’ve received.

An official statement from Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO originally had a feature known as footsteps, which allowed you to better track down specific Pokémon that appeared on your radar.

With it, you could tap on a specific Pokémon in the radar, and you could attempt to pinpoint that specific Pokémon by watching for the green pulse as you walked around. However, the feature was buggy and many people even went as far as to say the feature didn’t even work.

As a result, last weekend’s game update removed the feature. The removal was not only because it wasn’t meeting everyone’s expectations, but also because Niantic is working hard to eliminate third-party Pokémon tracking websites from being able to report the real-time existence of Pokémon for players who want to take the easy way to the top.

Despite all the criticism, the developers behind Pokémon GO appear to be on solid ground with their decision to remove the footsteps feature, as they’ve released the following public statement on their Facebook page:

Trainers,

As many of you know, we recently made some changes to Pokémon GO.

– We have removed the ‘3-step’ display in order to improve upon the underlying design. The original feature, although enjoyed by many, was also confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals. We will keep you posted as we strive to improve this feature.

– We have limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokémon GO to users around the world. The large number of users has made the roll-out of Pokémon GO around the world an… interesting… challenge. And we aren’t done yet! Yes, Brazil, we want to bring the game to you (and many other countries where it is not yet available).

We have read your posts and emails and we hear the frustration from folks in places where we haven’t launched yet, and from those of you who miss these features. We want you to know that we have been working crazy hours to keep the game running as we continue to launch globally. If you haven’t heard us Tweeting much it’s because we’ve been heads down working on the game. But we’ll do our best going forward to keep you posted on what’s going on.

Be safe, be nice to your fellow trainers, and keep on exploring.

The Pokémon GO team

The statement doesn’t go into any details about whether or not the footsteps feature will ever return, or if a better feature to replace it will ever be implemented, but such is to be expected when the game is so popular and third-party services are trying to take advantage of it by setting up real-time Pokémon tracking websites.

Because the Pokémon GO team is working hard to have third-party tracking websites taken down, it’s a touchy subject at this point in time for the company.

These third-party websites pinged the Pokémon GO servers on such a high scale that it caused lagging and login issues for players who were constantly being booted out. Since the removal of many third-party real-time tracking websites, login issues have been virtually non-existent for most of the Pokémon GO player base.

Wrapping up

Although there doesn’t appear to be any indication that footsteps or third-party real-time Pokémon tracking websites will be returning any time soon, the Pokémon GO development team is working as hard as possible to keep the game running smoothly despite all the server issues that have been occurring from the massive influx of interested players from around the world. Some of these sacrifices were necessary.

If you haven’t tried Pokémon GO yet, and would like to, you can download it for free from the App Store and give it a whirl.

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