Unless you are lucky enough to live in the muddle of a city, you might have experienced some difficulty when playing Niantic’s wildly popular augmented reality (AR) title, Pokemon Go. Players in less populated areas often find there is a profound lack of Pokestops and Gyms in their local area, cutting them off from some crucial aspects of the title. Niantic Labs is attempting address this issue by allowing user to suggest new Pokestop locations.
The nomination program for Pokestops is currently in a very restricted Beta, only available to users in South Korea and Brazil who have reached level 40 or higher. Niantic do have plans to more trainers and locations.
Players who are able to take part in the beta program can nominate potential Pokestops by submitting a photo and descriptions of the locations. Niantic will then review the location for possible inclusion.
The types of places that Niantic is particularly keen to include are major transport hubs, public places of worship, parks, libraries and places with public art or interesting architecture. Of curse, many Pokestops already in the title include a blurb which covers the significance or history of a Pokestop location, so it is likely that locations with a story to tell would be more likely to be included.
Much of the code for Pokemon Go was based on Niantic’s previous mobile effort, the location-based title Ingress, and many of the Pokestop locations were lifted from data which has been gathered for use in Ingress.
Niantic have been busy with Pokemon Go all summer, introducing special events to raise player engagement, and incorporating the long-awaited trading and friends lists. As a result, Niantic have reported a 35% increase in active usage since May.
For future coverage on Pokemon Go and other AR titles, keep checking back with VRFocus.