Pokémon GO’s Launch Has Been Terrible

Pokémon GO’s Launch Has Been Terrible

Playing Pokémon GO this week has proven to be pretty difficult thanks to a wide array of issues plaguing the augmented reality game.

Things got to an iffy start right from the get-go, given the lack of clarity from developer Niantic as to when the game would actually launch across various regions. Players were left guessing and frantically reloading their news feed on Wednesday in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, the game was out in their part of the world.

Once the game officially launched for US gamers at 9:00PM EST (Thursday 11:00AM AEST), the servers got so overloaded that it was impossible for many people to try the game out. I was able to play for a total of five minutes before Pokémon GO started crashing or freezing on me, if it was able to get past the server issues at all. Both the Google log-in and Pokémon Club logins were a bust, and as an added annoyance, I had to input my sign-in info every single time I booted the game up… only to see this:

Connectivity issues aren’t unusual for hot online games, especially on day one. The thing is, the problems persisted on day two, as players found that the servers kept going up and down (mostly down, really). For the most part, the average Pokémon GO fan didn’t get to actually play the game yesterday thanks to a combination of server issues, authentication problems and general wonkiness of the app.

Now we’re on day three, and while it seems that Pokémon GO has started to work for some people, social media is still full of players who can’t get the game to load. Personally, Pokémon GO lets me log in, but I can only see this:

No Pokémon, no landmarks, no gyms. My trainer is locked in place, and the only thing I can do is watch the Pokeball in the top left corner spin round and round. This happens regardless of whether I use the Google login, the Club login, heck I’ve even tried deleting and redownloading the app to no avail. Pokémon GO has been a frustrating experience thus far, even though yes, it’s technically free-to-download.

We reached out to Niantic and The Pokémon Company yesterday about Pokémon GO’s server issues, but they did not share any updates. Actually, the only official word is from Thursday:

Again, issues like this aren’t out of the ordinary, especially for a game with as much hype as Pokémon GO. But it sucks to have Niantic be mostly mum about what is going on, or when players can expect a fix. With no ETA, I’ve found myself periodically loading the app to see if things are better now, only to find that nothing has improved. This in turn only makes me more aggravated, and I know I am not alone: I’ve seen players outright delete the app because they don’t want to deal with all of these issues. They just wanna catch some Pokémon, man.

We’ll keep you updated on the status of Pokémon GO connectivity issues as the week goes on. For now, it’s worth noting that these problems might just be the tip of the iceberg for the game: In what little time I’ve spent with GO, it already feels like the offerings are kind of sparse. The game has only launched with functionality to capture monsters and do gym battles, but not franchise staples like trading or battling against other players. Such features have been hinted at in trailers, so its entirely possible that they will be patched in at some point, but for now, their absence only adds to the disappointment that is Pokémon GO‘s launch.


  • Annoyed they don’t announce a precise release time… Then annoyed too many people are trying to log in right as it releases.


    • If they announce an exact time, then everybody tries to connect at that time, and 99% fail because the servers are flooded. By NOT announcing a time, the servers are under fairly heavy load, but it’s spread out a bit more, and once each person signs up the load they’re contributing drops considerably.

      I’m not saying this is the logic that it’s actually using (and in these days of cloud computing, scaling a signup isn’t THAT hard) but it would explain the strategy.

      Needless to say it hasn’t worked out for them, but it’s possible things would actually been worse if they had announced a particular time.

      • My point was exactly that. The first thing the OP complained about was specifically their to mitigate the extent of her second complaint.

        It’s been a little glitchy, but better than literally every launch mmo I’ve ever played.

        • Ah, sorry, I read the “Logic?” as “Is there any sort of logic that could explain this?” rather than “You understand there is logic behind this, right?”

          • All good, that’s what I get for being sarcastic on the Internet.

            Was just pointing out the illogic of complaining about both those facts, glad you see the same point 🙂

          • I gave up on subtle sarcasm on the Internet years ago. These days I either say something like **SARCASM BEGINS HERE** or else lay it on with a trowel. Or two trowels. Better yet, a cement truck.

  • Ive had none of the issues mentioner.. and NEVER has an online title launched with problems and had them fixed day 2! World of warcraft had issues for weeks, destiny had issues if i recall as well as the divison which i remember complaining for well over a week.

    • Yes it is, but afaik, that whole part was down. I’d take google for auth any day tbh.

      • I wouldn’t mind google if they stopped trying to force me to convert my google account to an alias of my junk gmail.

  • I can deal with connectivity issues but the game constantly times out and provides zero feedback. – that’s just poor design. I’ll catch a pokemon and it’ll just sit there, showing me a pokeball with no error messages or anything. There’s also another bug where I’ll be in a gym battle and get their pokemon down to 1hp and can’t deal any more damage. There needs to be a “server has timed out” message or something when it stuffs up.

    • Oh this! So much this…. Gym battles are a waste of time 90% end in being timed out for me.

    • Lucky you! I’ve not had it working for more than a few minutes, if I manage to actually log in. Then if I do, I can’t do anything as the map is blank just like the examples in the story. Think I’ll just leave it for a few weeks and then try again.

  • Had the server issues, gym battle 1hp timeouts, catching one the the ball just sitting there, logging in to find a bunch of missing items, character not moving, eggs not registering distance travelled, whole thing has been a shit fight

  • There’s a website for checking the server status of the game, check that before the struggle of logging in.

    The servers were super dodgy the first couple of days. But had almost no problems wandering around for a few hours today. Most of the issues can be solved with a quick restart of the game.

    Sure it’s frustrating when you think you’ve caught a pokemon and it fails or a gym screws up.
    But this is a MASSIVE game and the fact the servers have been up most of today without issues and the amount of people I’ve seen basically everywhere playing the game is impressive.

    You gotta expect some downtime with a game release this huge that they probably weren’t -quite- expecting to be this big.

  • The connection issue is wierd for me, If I get disconnected on 4G I get the server error message, and cant reconnect until I can get onto a reliable speed wifi (which usually rules out most public wifis :P).

    Server issues, take two steps closer to my house, instant reconnect no issues.

    My neighbours must think I am wierd cause I cant go to far from my house in case I disconnect and have to hotwire my 4G with my wifi 😛

  • I wonder how many people outside Australia used a VPN to access Pokemon GO before it was officially ready in their region.

    • Everyone on Android just installed it anyway. Great to have all the gyms to yourself if the iphone users aren’t in yet.

  • The problem with the launch was not the games or niantics fault it was all the people who couldn’t wait a couple of hours just to play the game and got jealous of Australia getting it first so they pirated the game and millions of people were playing it when Niantic probably only expected 1-2 million until it was released in the US

  • There are two big issues that have caused this launch to be a disaster.

    1) Communication
    2) Response

    In terms of point 1, Niantic just hasn’t been telling players enough about the server issues, and when we can expect resolution. ASAP is all well and good, but I know many players would rather just put the game down until they can play in a stable manner – especially when many people want to go to out of the way locations on trips; they can’t really do this at the moment due to the risk of server issues. Perhaps most importantly – Niantic needs a server status page, that states whether or not the server is up, and what the connectivity is like at a given time. It is a million times easier to reload a status page once every couple of minutes, rather than go through the tedious process of trying to sign back into the app every couple of minutes.

    In terms of point 2, they should have anticipated how popular the game would have been. They seemingly didn’t, but even then, they should have immediately done everything required to improve server stability and load on day 1, as a top priority. One of the major issues with their response is that they’ve left the servers up a lot of the time, despite terrible connection and basically unplayability. That is not how a professional company handles customer service. While fans hate not being able to play when they want to, really, they should have taken the servers down for X amount of time (and told players of this via social media), and resolved the issues as best as possible. As someone that has been online gaming with Blizzard for the better part of a decade, while I’d always hate server maintenance Blizz always does the right thing and lets you know when the servers will be back online, and the maintenance is a necessary evil. It’s much better than just trying to brute force the issue, disappointing millions in the process.

  • Meanwhile here in Japan the app isn’t out yet, using my aus account I downloaded it but the map is empty and lifeless 🙁

  • I had a cold when it released so stayed in the first 2 days it was out. I’ve been out for a few hours each day after that and had no issues. A single time it booted me out and I just logged back in fine.

    Come across a crazy amount of people playing this and several lure clusters which have been super useful.

  • Why is there a rush concerning this game? The organization should provide better server to withstand an attack. But they just attracted user’s attention without necessary preparation. Frankly speaking most acquaintances used vpn services to bypass the rush and avoid some troubles. As far as I understand, if you logged in twice from one ip address you managed to do that. Modern technologies become trickier, so you should be always careful.

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