Niantic’s latest Pokemon GO update introduces a new iteration of the ‘nearby’ monster tracking system — but not all players have access to the feature just yet.
When Niantic removed the footstep tracker from Pokemon GO, it seemed like the decision might sink the enormously popular game. Now, the studio is starting to roll out a replacement for the system, and it has the potential to solve a lot of problems.
Pokemon that are close by are now linked to their nearest Pokestop, which is displayed next to the monster’s portrait on the nearby screen. This information gives players an easy way to determine which monsters are where, as opposed to only being told how far away they are, as per the previous footsteps system.
Touching a portrait on the nearby screen offers up an even more useful location method. A small icon will be added to the player’s map, showing them where the Pokemon has spawned, and giving them a fighting chance of seeking it out and catching it.
This method certainly seems to give trainers more agency as they search for new Pokemon, and it’s definitely an improvement over not having any way to track monsters, as has been the case in recent weeks. That said, it’s difficult to determine whether it’s a satisfying gameplay mechanic without testing it personally.
For the time being, not everyone has access to this new tracking system. Niantic’s patch notes state that the feature is being tested with “a subset of users,” but it’s safe to assume that a full rollout will follow if it proves to be a success — although there’s no timeframe on this step.
The new tracker functionality will likely coexist with the revised sightings system that was introduced to the game for all users. Between the two, trainers are set to have a robust set of tools to help them find and capture Pokemon in their surroundings.
However, there’s a chance that it might be too late for Niantic to convince players who have already moved on from the game. Many were sorely disappointed when the footsteps system was phased out, and that might cause some to reject its replacement, even if it offers more utility.
It can sometimes be difficult for a game that’s initially very successful to retain its audience while major features are being tweaked via updates — we only have to look at titles like The Division and Destiny for evidence. However, the team at Niantic are striving to help Pokemon GO live up to its massive potential, and this new feature certainly seems to be a step in the right direction.
Check out our helpful Pokémon GO guides:
- Every Way to Earn Experience Points
- How to Win Battles
- How to Become a Gym Leader
- How to Get Pokecoins
- How to Catch Pikachu as a Starter
- How to Use and Hatch Eggs
- How to Catch Rare Pokemon
- How to Use Pokestops
- How to Control Eevee’s Evolution
- Trainer Rewards at Every Level
- How to Hold Gyms Longer
- Where to Find Specific Pokemon
- How to Trigger Pokemon Spawns
- Every Type’s Strengths and Weaknesses
- Catching Region Exclusive Pokemon
Pokemon GO is currently available in select regions for iOS and Android devices.