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Ex-Niantic employee claims staff were ‘punished’ for listening to Pokémon GO complaints

Ed Nightingale August 4, 2021
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Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO. (Niantic)

An ex-employee at Pokémon GO developer Niantic has claimed they were “punished” for listening to player complaints.

Writing in an anonymous Glassdoor review for the developer, the allegations were from March 2020 but have come to light following player disappointment in Niantic’s rollback of in-game social distancing measures.

Screenshots of the review were shared by Dexerto.

“They claim to have an open culture, but don’t accept negative comments even when things suck,” wrote the reviewer. “As a platform engineer who just wanted the game/company to be better, I got punished by echoing Pokémon GO players’ complaints which had been there for more than a year.”

Pokemon GO Niantic review
Niantic review. (Glassdoor)

They also claimed that “constructive suggestions are not acceptable” and that they were told to “shut up” following one suggestion.

They continue: “Though most employees play it, few people on the Pokémon GO team really know the game well (or the people who know always have other “high priority” stuff to worry about instead of the actual player issues).”

Pokemon GO Niantic review
Niantic review. (Glassdoor)

Niantic’s Chief People Officer responded to the review, saying: “Niantic works hard to promote an open culture. In supporting an open culture, there is a lot of debate and often disagreement. It’s how you work through the disagreement that cultivates a healthy open culture…We have some work to do and embracing feedback from our employees is key to helping us cultivate an open culture.”

Players are currently leaving Pokémon GO disappointed with Niantic for not listening to fan feedback on the social distancing measures.

A petition has been signed by almost 150,000 people demanding Niantic keep increased interaction distances due to the pandemic.

This is the latest in a recent slew of allegations and stories that have shone a light on poor working conditions in the games industry. Activision Blizzard is currently facing a lawsuit for its “frat boy” workplace culture and sexual harassment allegations, while Ubisoft was also rocked by sexual harassment allegations last year.

Pokémon GO recently celebrated its five year anniversary, with the game generating over $5 billion in player spending.

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Related topics: gaming

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