Despite having launched to a great deal of fanfare, Pokemon Go was anything but perfect when it rolled out on iOS and Android back in July. Of all the bugs and glitches, the issues with the nearby tracking system were the most pressing, which is why Niantic killed the feature altogether within a few weeks, promising that it would come back bigger and better than ever in the near future.
Nearly three months later, the feature is still in the works.
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That’s not to say that Niantic hasn’t made any progress. In fact, the development team began testing a new version of the tracking feature back in early August, but it was only accessible to players living in the San Francisco Bay Area.
But now, as October begins to wind down, many players are wondering why the new tracker hasn’t launched yet, and when it might start spreading to new areas. Polygon got in touch with the developer late last week seeking new information regarding the tracker, but Niantic’s response was disappointing:
“Niantic is still testing a new type of tracking that’s geo-locked to San Francisco,” a representative said. “At this moment, there is no estimated timeline to potentially rolling it out wider.”
Pokemon Go players have become increasingly agitated with the lack of communication and meaningful updates to the game in recent weeks, so you can imagine how this news went over with the community. But beyond the frustration, one Reddit user made a cogent argument about why Niantic needs to launch this update:
“Niantic took away the trackers right before winter. I hope they come out with one cause who is going to wander around aimlessly in the cold?”
At this point, Pokemon still appear on the nearby tracker in the app, but there’s no indication as to where they are relative to a player’s location. I can’t imagine someone in Minnesota or Wisconsin venturing out into subzero temperatures without any way of knowing how close they are to a Pokemon.
Thankfully, FastPokeMap (one of the most popular fan-made tracking sites) appears to be days, or even hours, away from coming back online. Providing Niantic doesn’t kill it, this tracker and others like it could save the game this winter.