Pokémon Go maker Niantic has abandoned its plans to change how players earn the game’s premium PokéCoin currency, after nearly six months of tinkering.
Australian fans were treated as guinea pigs for the trial, begun back in May this year, which replaced a portion of the PokéCoins earned in-game through gym control with tasks for completing other in-game activities.
The rejig was meant to offer alternative routes to gaining the game’s coveted daily helping of coins (which otherwise need to be bought with real-world money), potentially benefiting players without regularly turned over gyms nearby.
But the trial also initially nerfed the number of coins available from gym control in general, and asked players to complete daily activities such as winning a raid, something of no use to the same rural players these changes were meant to help.
Niantic responded to these complaints by tweaking the trial, removing the gym control nerf, making other improvements, and after things calmed down expanded it to more countries.
“We’ve seen some promising results from the limited PokéCoin-rewards test and have found that more Trainers are receiving free PokéCoins than ever before,” Niantic wrote in August. “Trainers who cannot readily access Gyms have been able to earn PokéCoins through a wider variety of featured activities.”
The trial was opened up beyond Australia to Germany, New Zealand and Taiwan, and players reported further tweaks – most recently, that the dreaded ‘win a raid’ task had been dropped.
Overall, things seemed to going fairly well – which makes today’s abrupt about-turn a surprise.
“Based on Trainer feedback and collected data, this PokéCoin-rewards test will be discontinued in all test countries (Australia, Germany, New Zealand, and Taiwan),” Niantic wrote today.
“The PokéCoin-rewards system in those countries will revert to the existing system on Thursday, November 5, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. local time. We appreciate Trainers’ participation in the test, and we’ll continue to look for ways to improve how players can earn PokéCoins.”
So, what happened here? Player sentiment to the changes seemed to be improving, so it’s interesting to wonder whether that “collected data” metric Niantic mentions has any effect on the game’s bottom line.
Regardless, Australia, thank you for your Poké-sacrifices testing this out.