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Pokevision Creator to ‘Pokemon Go’ Developer: You Broke Our Hearts

One of the men behind the recently shuttered tool that helped players find Pokemon more easily published an open letter to Niantic Labs

One of the creators of the Pokevision website — which helped players find specific types of Pokemon more easily while playing “Pokemon Go” — spoke out against “Pokemon Go” developer Niantic Labs in an open letter published Tuesday on Medium.

“You’ve simply captured all of our hearts with ‘Pokemon Go,’ Niantic,” Yang Liu wrote. “But then, you broke it all too quickly.”

Liu said he and his team only built Pokevision as a temporary tool until the tracking features inside the “Pokemon Go” app itself were working again, and that it was never intended to be a permanent fixture.

At issue right now is the latest update to “Pokemon Go,” which removed a non-functional tracking feature in the game and was accompanied by demands that third-party trackers like Pokevision shut down. Niantic said these trackers were “cheats” and violated the “Pokemon Go” terms of service by pulling data that wasn’t intended to be publicly available.

In the wake of these moves, the fan response has been clear: They don’t like it one bit.

“We made Pokevision not to ‘cheat.’ We made it so that we can have a temporary relief to the in-game tracker that we were told was broken,” Liu wrote, citing comments by Niantic Labs CEO John Hanke last month at San Diego Comic-Con.

“You said that you guys were working on ‘fixing the in-game tracker.’ This made everyone believe that this was coming sometime soon,” Liu wrote. “We saw Pokevision as a stop gap to this  —  and we had every intention in closing it down the minute that Pokemon Go’s own tracker restored functionality.”

But no official fix came, Liu said. And without Pokevision or an in-game tracking tool, he added, the location-based augmented-reality game was “simply too unbearable to play in its current state for many.”

Pokevision, Liu said, “allowed them to play ‘Pokemon Go’ more. This is what everyone wants  –  to play ‘Pokemon Go’ more.”

Liu also noted that Pokevision has had 50 million unique users since it went up — if true, that’s a massive proportion of the total number of users of “Pokemon Go,” which became the biggest smartphone game ever with more than 80 million users since launching in July.

Niantic did address criticisms of the update and the closure of the third-party trackers late Monday night in a post on the game‘s official Facebook page, saying it’s still planning to fix the in-app tracking but removed the bugged feature in the meantime to avoid confusion.

The statement also claimed that trackers like Pokevision “were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokémon GO to users around the world.”

As all this is being dealt with, meanwhile, public opinion of “Pokemon Go” is through the floor. And so the question becomes whether it will be able to recover when and if Niantic fixes the app’s tracking feature.