Niantic's augmented reality take on Pokémon GO continues to be staggeringly popular as it approaches its one month anniversary. It recently passed 100 million downloads across Android and iOS, despite some rather vocal negative press after the removal of the Pokémon step tracker and third-party tools for hunting monsters manually. Today Niantic is expanding the game to some of the biggest markets it hadn't previously supported: South America and Central America.
Aside from hundreds of millions of new potential players, Niantic specifically mentioned the expansion supporting visitors to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. At this point pretty much everywhere in the Western Hemisphere should have access to the game, along with Australia, New Zealand, quite a bit of Europe, Japan, and Hong Kong. The Pokémon GO Plus accessory, which helps players catch Pokémon without taking out their phones and was scheduled for release last month, has been bumped to September.
Despite big plans for future expansion, Niantic's latest Facebook post says it's currently focusing on bringing the game to even more regions. That makes sense - more players means more in-app purchases, so more capital to keep things running and pay for employees. Servers are now more reliable and a lot of bugs have been squashed, even if features from the launch version seem to be disappearing.
Irate fans are calling for better transparency and communication from the developer, and some have been angry enough to demand refunds for in-app purchases. Google has been processing so many requests for refunds that they've added a link to Niantic's support site on the Google Play help page.
- Niantic Facebook