Let’s Look at Pokémon GO’s New Tracker

First of all I’d like to congratulate Niantic on their success at The Game Awards last night, your game may be unfinished and broken, but you’ve also created a undeniably priceless experience that is truly unlike any other. Secondly on a similar note I’d like to congratulate YouTube’s hilarious and definitely not broken Content ID system, which removed all 3 hours of audio from the official Game Awards video thanks to a content match. 10/10.

Yesterday morning I awoke to see the Nearby feature suddenly in my copy of Pokémon GO, something I thought I might not ever witness. After months upon months of silence from Niantic it’s quite a shocker to see them finally rolling out another form of tracking system and today I was able to finally have a whirl with it, and I’d like to share some feedback to both the developers and readers. So let’s have a runthrough of the new system and what I’ve found out shall we?

Opening the Nearby menu (little bar in the bottom right) presents you with the nearby Pokémon. Simple. No Pokémon? Nothing to show. (The menu still reads as “Sightings” in these instances, interestingly enough)

What’s new is now we have images of PokéStops and renders of Pokémon in the bottom right. Honestly I find this quite ugly and actually somewhat hard to follow. Given the further interaction options I don’t feel like you really need images of the stops in this part of the menu, however if they are kept I think they could benefit immensely from a bit of tidying up.


tidyness not pictured

Upon clicking an individual Stop/Pokémon (and this is where this function truly begins to shine) we see enlarged images and that familiar little 3 step symbol that was there at the launch of the app. I’ve clicked a lot of Pokémon in this new menu and I believe the footstep number always remains as 3 regardless of how nearby a Pokémon is. If you tap the footsteps you’ll notice that they are, in fact, a button that allows you to pinpoint your chosen Pokémon and actually track them. 

As you can see you’re taken out of the menu and guided towards the PokéStop that is nearest to your chosen Pokémon which is marked with a symbol. I’ve tested distance from the symbol a handful of times and I’m led to believe it won’t actually disappear from you moving too far away though I can’t confirm this for certain. Now you’ve got your Pokémon on tracking it’ll sit in your bottom bar pulsing pink, regardless if you move out of the “Nearby” criteria, to elaborate; you’ll still be tracking your chosen Pokémon even if it no longer shows up in your Nearby menu.

Moving too far away may not stop the app from tracking but the Pokémon actually reaching the end of its spawn time will. Upon despawning you’re met with the following pop-up.

I’ve found no indication in the app that tells you how long a Pokémon has left on its spawn time, so this part seems to remain the same- better hurry if you want that Pikachu. I’ve also not tested the order Pokémon appear in nearly enough to have an idea of how accurate it is, so I can’t say for certain if a Pokémon being at the top left of the list or at the bottom right of the list indicates how close you are to it.

Overall this new tracking system seems fantastic and I can only urge Niantic to roll it out to as many places as possible seeing as how incredibly efficient it is. It is a little ugly and I think there’s a bit too much visual information in some instances, but ultimately this is the tracker that so many people wanted since day 1, and as far as I’m concerned is immensely superior to any other tracking system implemented in the game.


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