Pokemon GO Players Requesting Refunds Over Lack Of Tracking

With the broken in-game tracking patched out and third-party services getting shut down, Pokemon Go players are now requesting refunds for in-app purchases, and in many cases they're getting them.

A Reddit thread started earlier today is steadily filling with stories of players requesting refunds for their in-app purchases through Google Play or iTunes, citing that Pokemon Go's latest update broke the functionality they'd made the purchases to take advantage of.

When the game's tracking was working, nearby Pokemon would be listed on screen, along with a series of steps vaguely denoting how far away they were from the player. Players could then select a Pokemon, tap the compass and follow directions to hopefully capture the creature they were after.

The three-step glitch, which showed all nearby Pokemon the furthest possible distance from the player, made tracking difficult. Yesterday's game update removed tracking altogether, leaving just a list of nearby Pokemon without distances or the ability to select one and track.

Players had been making due with third-party tracking programs like Pokevision, which used Niantic's API data, but now many of the more popular apps have been shut down for unspecified (but pretty obvious) reasons.

So now players are requesting refunds, citing that the game's functionality has been altered to the point where the original plans for those in-app purchases are no longer viable. They purchased Pokemon GO currency to buy items to track and capture Pokemon, and while they can still capture random creatures they come across, it's not the same thing.

To test the process, I hopped into iTunes, went to my purchase history and reported a problem with my most recent purchase, a $US9.99 ($13) buy made back on July 9. It went through without a hitch.

Other players report similar success going through the automated process. Meanwhile, Google Play's automated policy only allows for refunds on purchases made within the past 48 hours, though Redditors are reporting success getting earlier purchases refunded by using the option to have Google support call them.

It remains to be seen how refunds will affect player accounts, or how Pokemon Go developer Niantic will respond.

WATCH MORE: Tech News


Comments

    Why would you spend money on a broken game in the first place?

      Because you might buy a car with a buggy air conditioner from a well known dealership. At the moment it just blows air, not cooled. The guy selling it promises to fix it. You buy the car, then after a few days bring it to the guy now that he has said he has the parts. He fixes it by removing the air system completely.

        Then the next week the new working air conditioning is installed.
        Problem here is lack of communication.

      A game still technically in beta no less. You can't really call this a decent launch.

      Cause I gotta be the very best, like no one ever was... By buying my way to the top.

    Got a refund on all purchases I'd made besides the first one (and that was my own choice, as the app was working at the time (bar server overload)). Niantic's lack of communication with the playerbase, as well as their idea of fixing being the removal of the offending function, is just pathetic and I cannot continue playing a game that is not only broken, but only a portion of what we were originally pitched.

    I'm ok with the $10 bucks I've spend on the game, I'm a believer of paying some money if its a free game and I like/enjoy it. But I wont be spending any more till things are fixed though.

    Last edited 01/08/16 4:11 pm

    So, in a game where exploration is one of the key elements... people are having the biggest bitch fit because they have to actually explore to find Pokemon?

    OMG. They took away the tracking! You've still got what is around you. Go from there you slackers.

    Anyone having a sook cos their trackers aren't working/not usable anymore. Same thing. You're not ruining it for others in the grand scheme of things. But yeah.

    Quit acting like a pack of entitled, spoiled children.

      ^ This

      I've spent well over $45 in in-app purchases so far and despite all these supposed "issues", all items purchased have been put to good use without needing a solid tracking system.

      IMO People have quickly lost the original goal for the game. Explore on foot, find cool critters by chance, not drive around with a tracking program in-hand just because you're too impatient to find that Dragonite by luck and perseverance alone.

      Games are never perfect. It's a new territory for Pokémon and I think it's getting better with each update.

      I'm guessing you live in or near a city with hundreds of Pokestops and thousands of spawn locations?

        Nope. Where I live, nothing pops up and I have to venture somewhere else to get something. Which much like a lot of others is just Rattata's, Pidgey's and Zubat's.

        When I have gone near a gym and somehow managed to beat it and take it, I've lost my spot within an hour.

        Would I like a lot more around me? Absolutely. Am I gonna chuck a hissy fit in hopes of it happening? Nope.

        But to see the sooks having a cry because they can't use third party apps to basically cheat and go "find" what they want. Mate, get stuffed.

        It's a free app that is barely a month old and considering the traffic and all that comes with it being so popular, for it to hold out as much as it has is a miracle. Sure, it not working how one should think it should and being down when a new region gets to join in, isn't the best... but come on. It's a bloody amazing accomplishment.

        So, as above, to see people having the biggest tantrums because a third party app they used no longer works. You can still go out and use Pokemon Go. You can still go to various locations and catch stuff. You can still use the app. Get over it. Wait til they start introducing the rest of the Pokemon and locations become more scarce for certain Pokemon.

      This is not "entitled" and your casual usage of that word (which gets used now far too frequently whenever anyone levels criticism at a game) denotes to me that you're someone who thinks we should just take whatever game companies give us "because it's their product". Would you not complain if you ordered a burger and instead got a crappy sandwich with some lunch meat?

      People used the tracker (even as broken as it was) to determine where the pokemon they wanted to catch would be. They walked around with an AIM to collect the pokemon they wanted, rather than chasing after 100s of zubats, rattata, pidgeys, spearows, weedles and caterpies. Now there is NO means to do that whatsoever, which effectively takes away the ONLY agency players had in the game.

      Players had a choice to deliberately walk around and track pokemon they wanted, by using the tracker (or tracking apps) to hunt with a PURPOSE. Now hunting pokemon is essentially a giant random number generator, and players have no idea what they might be looking for or what might be near. Pokemon frequently pop up that aren't even on the full list of 9 on the tracker, and now the tracker is definitely not even intended to be ordered by closest distance. Essentially the only option for catching pokemon are:
      a) Wander around aimlessly in an area, hoping something pops up - ignoring the tracker entirely because it's useless.
      b) Only farm pokemon at lure hubs.

      Now the ONLY real agency players have is "do I spend all my time taking this gym only to have someone take it back with their multiple >2K pokemon?"

      Add on top of this the removal of XP bonuses for accurate pokeball throwing, and overall the patch does a hell of a lot to make the game a LOT worse.

      So before you call people "entitled", take a moment to think about what this change actually does to players and the gameplay of the game.

      Last edited 01/08/16 6:12 pm

        These changes make it more of a game than what it was?

        You actually have to use some effort to get the Pokemon you want?

        Or just cheat the system, download an app that pin points where you should go and move onto the next one.

        No, you're right. That's exactly what the catch em all attitude of Pokemon is all about.

        Those poor "players" who have nothing to do now because they've cheated their way to catching them all. Getting slim pickings of XP even though they probably don't care because they just want to get that one Pokemon that an app said would be there. Quick, better start crying because they aren't releasing the next generation of Pokemon in an adequate amount of time that appeases you.

        With all respect, it absolutely is an entitled attitude though, to a degree, not the worst one we've ever seen that's for sure and definitely not to the degree bandied about above, but it still does reside in the entitled area a bit at least but the question is 'Is it justified?'. I think to a degree it is. It's an understandable one, because the thing is, Pokemon Go is broken and it does need a better system. But then, it's also a free game which has to be weighed up against it. Gamers aren't really in the wrong here but they are cheating, but then, it's a cheat that *benefits the game*, Pokevision did actual tracking better than the official tracking method after all. Surely there's a way they could meet the Pokevision people half way, create some sort of hybrid system with them rather than the random one that exists now? Niantec has created a pretty much free game... but the games broken almost to the point of ruination and the combat is truly awful for a Pokemon game... and that latest patch... fuck me it's bad. Lags so much now. But again it's a pretty well balanced game that isn't free-to-win at least?

        There's no absolute right side here and no wrong side, both sides have incredibly valid points, but there is a sense of entitlement from *both* sides that's being exaggerated though and most importantly a broken as fuck game as of this latest patch that needs to be fixed.

        Last edited 02/08/16 8:39 am

          You make some fair arguments, better than most I've seen. Yes, it's a free game, and for Niantic's size and the fact that it's a free game, they've done an amazing job at getting so many people hooked with a game that let's be honest - has pretty terrible gameplay.

          However, for the people requesting refunds they're saying "I paid money with the understanding that I would be able to play the game in a state where I could track pokemon", and now that understanding is not being met due to changes Niantic made. Sure, they've done it for a reason, but now someone has paid money for a product that isn't what they paid for. That really isn't being entitled - in Australia, that's merely exercising your right as a consumer.

          The criticisms being levelled at the tracking system (or lack thereof) are pretty justified - there's no real way to hunt for pokemon except to wander around aimlessly because of the completely broken state of the tracker. Which might be fine if you're going for a run or a ride or the like and just playing pokemon go "on the side" and checking your phone whenever it buzzes in your pocket. But actually going out with the intention of playing the game and running around trying to catch pokemon at the moment is just going to result in seeing the same basic pokemon over and over again and if you're really lucky you might find something that isn't one of those pokemon that everyone has already caught hundreds of.

          Direct attacks on Niantic, including hacking, DDOS and the general hate are not justified - and is definitely entitled. But I don't see how people asking for refunds on something that isn't performing as it was when it was purchased can be considered "entitled".

            But I don't see how people asking for refunds on something that isn't performing as it was when it was purchased can be considered "entitled".

            That in itself is incredibly fair. If someone like myself, who hasn't invested anything but time and effort complains as such to that degree, the label of entitled deserves to be thrown on them I believe. However as you stated, if there's been a monetary investment and a refund has been requested due to its broken state, that's an entirely different manner. Once money enters the fray, it elevates the situation entirely.

            And yes, utterly horrible gameplay lol. If it didn't have Pokemon in it...

            Well, it'd be Ingress wouldn't it.

            Last edited 02/08/16 6:50 pm

      So are you trying to say that the pokedex showing where a pokemons location is, is considered cheating?

      Get yer finger out o' your arse m8

    It should be noted at least part of this is because of Niantic's Support policies (or lack thereof)- Google and Apple require an app developer to offer support to customers, but Niantic's support (allegedly) consists of a reply email saying "this email isn't monitored", so they're essentially taking your money without any sort of support system. It highlights a frustration that a lot of Pokemon GO players have with the whole thing, that Niantic doesn't communicate with players (eg patch notes consisting of "minor text changes" when actual real stuff was changed).

    At least, that's what I've gathered from reading the subreddit, I'm not actually involved. It's fascinating to watch companies vs consumers in a battle that pretty much constantly rages with with every game release, especially multiplayer ones. The same shit happens again and again and again and again; companies announce changes without explaining why, fans rage hard, companies have to do damage control, fast forward a few weeks and it happens again. Happened with Destiny, The Division, etc, etc, etc....

    Last edited 01/08/16 5:04 pm

    So much entitlement.

      Another member of the moronic entitlement-bleating brigade. Read my comment above.

      Expecting a game to work is not being entitled. It's being a discerning consumer.

        Whatever you need to tell yourself to justify your entitlement.

          Do you have any logical or rational arguments to support your bleating, or do you only know how to say "entitlement"?

            Seem to have struck a chord. Perhaps deep down you know it is entitlement and you just don't want to admit it because then you'd have to live in the real world.

              No, I know it's not entitlement, and now I know for sure that you don't actually have any justification for calling it entitlement except "I think those people are doing things I don't like so I'm calling them entitled for the lulz because lulz I am so funny."

              If it's entitlement - how come people are actually getting refunds rather than having them refused?

                All I know is I've stated I believe this is a case of entitlement and you obviously disagree but instead of asking for my reasons in a respectable manner you begin belittling me by categorising me in "the moronic entitlement-bleating brigade".

                Perhaps you should look to yourself and think about how you approach topics of conversation. That way you may find yourself not getting so easily upset at trivial comments that you disagree with. Mind you it is 2016 after all and apparently sticks and stones may break your bones but words are even more hurtful.

                  To be fair, you started with "so much entitlement" - which itself comes across as belittling anyone who disagrees with your statement, as "entitlement" is thrown around as a derogatory term in gaming circles implying unjustified whinging.

    shouldnt be funding games if you chargeback, go find another sport. You pay for a program AS IS

      Except when the developer changes the game so it has actively decreased the functionality that you had, they're not giving you what you signed up for.

        are you a gamer? you sound so newb

        Last edited 01/08/16 9:23 pm

          What does being a gamer have to do with anything?

            the multitude of updates and nerfs we have had to deal with in the last 20 years

              There's a difference between a nerf and removing functionality. Also just because you've decided to lie down and take it doesn't mean others have to.

                your just a sad cheater that cant cheat anymore
                /sarcasm

                If it's in the closest position. You are near it. If it isnt. You aren't. Don't need footprints to show you.

                Last edited 02/08/16 5:39 am

                  I couldn't play the game before, and I still can't play it now. Let alone cheat :-)

                  If it's in the closest position. You are near it. If it isnt. You aren't.
                  Except this isn't true. Since the 3 step glitch, the Pokemon that show in the nearby tab is incorrect and no amount of hunting finds them. Multiple times I'd see something like a Scyther or a Machamp and go chasing with no result. Using Pokevision I was able to learn what was ACTUALLY around me. Now it's just blind walking with an untrustworthy tab.

                imagine if gamers cared as much for real world injustices as they do for gaming issues. Society might actually change for the better. Oh PS just because someone is far more rational than yourself, and doesnt see an issue where you see badness, that doesnt mean they have laid down and taken it.

                  I agree withe you blake, however everyone seems to down-vote and get auto-muted on this site

                  because down-votes of offence really matter here

                  you see me more and more care less about games and their childish partakers and attitudes and more re-posting of real life issues that are consequential to the human race.... I suppose its called growing up

          Pretty poor defence against a legitimate answer.
          Are you a gamer? It's spelled 'noob'.

            noob comes from noob saibot a mortal kombat character

            its a play on the word newbie
            to be new to a computer game

            REALLY?!?!?

          Nerfs are different to completely removing functionality. Changing the power of gameplay elements to ensure a more balanced experience is perfectly acceptable.

          However, as I explained above, this patch has effectively removed most of the agency given to players for the core gameplay mechanic - i.e. is removed the ability for players to hunt for pokemon in a directed fashion. Now they have to pretty much wander around blindly hoping to find the pokemon they're looking for.

          That's not changing the balance of the game - that's reducing the pokemon finding experience to a slot machine - which is NOT what people signed up for when handing over their money.

            serious? many many MMOs do this all the freaking time,

            while I admit there is a lack of a way of tracking pokemon.... people were cheating with pokevision and the mystery is now reinstated to pokemon go

            they were going to have to make updates eventually and no matter what they did they were going to get backlash from the plenty of people....
            its a repetitive cycle of anger and software updates to counter the anger

            before you know it the game is totally different because people moaned too much
            I have seen it umpteen times before

            Last edited 02/08/16 5:27 am

    To those who have used cash to purchase items that have helped procure Pokemon or others procure Pokemon... quick to ask for your cash back, but would go down swinging if Pokemon or items were taken that were gained from that spent cash.

    I'm more disappointed they removed the battery saver than anything else

      It's still there on mine?

      *edit* Stupid me, I should've mentioned I'm on android here. It might be gone on iOS? *ta to @hayleywilliams for pointing that out

      Last edited 02/08/16 9:51 am

        Unless they've moved the option in the menu I don't have it anymore

          Looks like they may have removed it just for iOS?

            Yeah sorry I should have clarified I'm on an SGS6 :) Sorry it might have gone for iOS?

              Well that's annoying
              I'm not expecting word on why any time soon tho

              it was causing bugs on IOS apparantly

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