The creator of the Pokemon GO tracker PokeVision reveals the website’s count of over 50 million unique visitors over three weeks and 11 million per day prior to its closure.

The unstable launch of mobile phenomenon Pokemon GO has led to a lot of unexpected situations, such as Niantic’s decision to shut down PokeVision, the popular Pokemon tracking website. As a matter of fact, what could be seen as even more unexpected is how staggeringly popular the PokeVision website had grown in such a short time, much like Pokemon GO itself had done.

In an open letter to Niantic published via Medium, one of PokeVision’s creators directly addressed the ongoing issues with Pokemon GO, PokeVision’s success, and the future. Perhaps the most immediately startling details was just how successful PokeVision was, after a mere three weeks of being live:

“PokeVision, at this time has grown to almost 50M unique users, and 11 million daily.”

PokeVision’s creator, Yang Liu, was much more focused on why so many players were using PokeVision rather than the gargantuan number itself:

“Let that sink in for a second. Half of the player base of Pokemon GO stopped by — and they didn’t do so to ‘cheat.’ The game was simply too unbearable to play in its current state for many (note: many, not all). The main attraction wasn’t that they got to have an advantage with PokeVision, the main attraction was that it allowed them to play Pokemon GO more. This is what everyone wants — to play Pokemon GO more.”

Liu goes on to expound on the point that PokeVision’s success is symbolic of what most Pokemon GO players want from the game. It’s not complicated: players want to be able to hunt down and catch Pokemon. Niantic’s efforts to shut down PokeVision, their tardiness in producing an updated tracking system, and their complete lack of communication regarding Pokemon GO‘s ever-present issues has done nothing but stifle what players seem to want — or so Liu claims.

Pokemon Go's Pokevision Tracker has 50 Million Users

On the other hand, Liu shows an understanding that Niantic and the game’s publisher likely serve a higher power: profit. The second half of his open letter grows into a rather existential look at why Niantic would ever choose profit-focused development over the altruistic, player-focused development that he believes would make Pokemon Go players happy.

“You won’t be remembered for the profits you made, you’ll be remembered for the world you changed through Pokemon and all of the lives you made better. Just look at all the stories — there’s plenty. So when millions of players are expressing their feedback to changes, is it not worth it to listen to what they have to say?”

The entire letter is worth reading. Captured in a single open letter is the entire struggle that most gamers go through at some point in their lives, as they grow up. It’s the realization that the art that is video games is such a powerful thing, and that the art of video games is perpetually in a struggle with the need for studios and publishers to make profit. Furthermore, it covers how the resulting conversation between players and game creators can be difficult, frustrating, and unrewarding.

Pokemon GO will be a case study going forward, and PokeVision will certainly play a vital role in that story. How did the grassroots-developed website grow to become such a valued and necessary symbiotic component to the game to the degree that 50 million unique users relied on it? And what does it say that Niantic went out of its way to shut it down?

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Pokemon GO is out now for Android and iOS devices.

Source: Medium