Pokémon GO will finally open up Pokéstop submissions to level 40 players worldwide next week
Thanks to its augmented reality gameplay, Pokémon GO reached heights of popularity no other Android game had seen before. While its popularity has dropped significantly over the years since its release, the game still has quite a large user base. The main aim of the game is to capture as many Pokémon as you can, but it also has a variety of different side-quests. You can visit nearby Pokéstops to collect in-game items, battle against other players at Gyms, or team up to fight legendary Pokémon. As you’d expect, Pokéstops and Gyms play a crucial role in the game as they provide players with the means to progress. However, their availability, or lack thereof, has been a major issue in the Pokémon GO community. More than three years since its release, Niantic is finally looking at solving this issue by rolling out Pokéstop submissions to players worldwide.
Pokéstops and Gyms usually appear around geographical points of interest around you. Niantic relied on its older title Ingress for populating data on points of interest (“portals”, in this case). But since Ingress had a significantly smaller player base even at the heights of its popularity, the data Niantic had was quite limited. Niantic initially relied on the Ingress community for more information, but due to a problem with the approval system, the program was shut down. The company then revamped the process by involving the community to vote and accept/reject portals through Operation Portal Recon. After every few months, Niantic would silently lift the data from Ingress and add it to Pokémon Go. But even then, there simply weren’t Pokéstops and Gyms to cater to the large Pokémon Go player base, especially those in rural areas. This resulted in problems for most Pokémon GO players, who felt restricted by the lack of Pokéstops and Gyms around them. Players in rural areas barely had a Pokéstop or two within miles of their location, so they weren’t able to collect enough in-game items. Without a sufficient supply of items, players weren’t able to catch Pokémon frequently and were slow to level up, creating a negative game experience that was accentuated by the game’s steep grinding curve on the higher levels.
In a bid to address this issue, Niantic tidied up the community voting system from Ingress and converted it into Niantic Wayfarer. The new system went into beta some time ago, but Pokéstop submission was limited to some geographical locations only. Now, Niantic is finally planning to roll it out to all players around the world next week. However, there is still a catch. The submissions are restricted to level 40 players, so only seasoned veterans of the game who’ve reached the highest level will be able to submit new Pokéstops. If you have not managed to reach level 40 because you do not have enough Pokéstops around you, you will be unable to rectify the situation without help from other players.
It’s also worth noting that Niantic has previously partnered with businesses to monetize Pokéstops. The idea behind this move is that people visit Pokéstops and Gyms in large numbers and having one of these outside a physical store could significantly increase footfall and sales for the business.
Niantic is now also opening up this sponsorship to local Small and Medium Businesses in the US. Registered businesses will also get the ability to schedule raid events or drop lures to attract players, along with the option to offer in-store promotions.
As of now, the sponsored locations feature is limited to small and medium-sized businesses in the US, with no information from the company regarding a global release.
What are your thoughts on Pokéstop submissions finally coming to Pokémon GO? Will this help bring the game back to the heights of its popularity? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!