The #HearUsNiantic movement started in response to Niantic limiting the use of Remote Raid Passes in Pokemon GO on April 6, 2023. Since then, the community started flooding social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit with requests to engage the developers in dialogue before unilaterally implementing such a drastic change. These requests were met with radio silence even after some petitions gathered more than 100,000 signatures.
In an interview with Dot Esports, dated May 18, 2023, Pokemon GO's game director Michael Steranka and senior producer John Funtanilla, opened up for the first time about the movement. They shared their responses to it while also talking about the path ahead for the mobile game.
Long story short, they said that the developers deemed the previous format of Remote Raid Passes "unhealthy," and the recent changes were here to say. This has not gone well with the player base, who again took to discussion fora to express their disapproval and disappointment.
The Pokemon GO community is further upset by Niantic's staunch stance on Remote Raid Pass limits
A lot of stuff has been written about the potential harms that limiting Remote Raid Passes and increasing their price can cause to the game's overall health in terms of restricting access for players with disabilities, mental health struggles, and those not living in big cities, to name a few.
Despite reasoned arguments from the side of Pokemon GO players, the Niantic management seems to be sticking to their guns about their decision. Steranka admitted in the interview that he used the Remote Raiding system a lot, saying, "I'm pretty sure I used to do more remote raids than 99 percent of your readers." Futanilla later echoed this, stating,
"Everyone liked it. There’s a lot of Michaels on this team, everyone’s playing the game, everyone wants to do remote raids, but we kind of have to understand what we feel is best for the player experience."
Going by what both the executives had to say throughout the interview, the bottom line can be summarized through some of the comments members of the r/pokemongo community on Reddit made in light of this interview.
The developers also spoke about how by limiting the Remote Raid Passes, they are taking Pokemon GO closer to the original vision for it and have "a huge slate of new features" that will drop over the year. However, the only thing they have to show with almost half the year has passed is the promise of Shadow Raids and the new Master Ball mechanic, neither of which looks particularly promising or exciting according to the community, with the convenience of unlimited Remote Raids taken away.
The developers seem to be missing that by not engaging with community feedback meaningfully. They are alienating their player base, which might prove incredibly detrimental to their revenue systems in the future, with the process of mass boycotts looking imminent shortly.
Some players also speculated that the only reason that people still play Pokemon GO is because of the Pokemon branding attached to the game, going on to criticize the basic functioning of Pokemon GO and highlighting how underwhelming it is if one were to set demanding standards of expectations from it.
The decisions made by the executives on this front might end up biting them later, or they might have some grand design planned that is obscure to the more extensive player base yet. However, one thing is increasingly sure from the executives' response in this interview: Niantic doesn't care much for what a huge chunk of its biggest title's player base has to say and is willing to face the potential music that can come out of it.