The immediate and gigantic success of Pokemon Go has overwhelmed the game's developer Niantic. Here is the reason why the company is not doing any proper PR and communication about ongoing crisis.
We reported earlier today about how Pokemon Go trainers are letting their frustration vent on reddit about Niantic's silence. Pokemon Go servers had a major outage again and the are other issues. Today we also spotted the first Pokemon Go bots that threaten to damage the game as they automate tasks of walking and catching Pokemon.
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Niantic is a small startup, consisting mainly of developers. Besides the server issue the team has to work on fixing bugs and come up with a method to secure the platform and prepare for DDOS attacks. Only Niantic's CEO John Hanke has talked a little bit to the press about launch dates and the PokemonGoApp Twitter account has tweeted the occasional server update tweet. Why is Niantic basically silent throughout the turmoil of viral growth that cause all kinds of issues?
The person who is responsible for PR and Marketing at Niantic gave birth two days after the launch of Pokemon Go. Yennie Solheim Fuller is on maternity leave.
She wrote about the situation on her blog, "my team from my day job launched our beloved secret project, Pokémon GO. we expected some excitement but we got so much more than that. people started playing the game almost immediately, some amazing stories came out, and we were shocked at how much enthusiasm there was."
Because nobody at Niantic anticipated the extreme popularity of Pokemon Go, the company has likely not prepared a replacement for Solheim while she is on maternity leave.
Pokemon Go has launched two weeks ago. If not Niantic, Nintendo could have jumped in and offer some PR support by now. The problems also reflect negatively on Nintendo.
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The lack of PR is though just one side of the communication problem. The Pokemon Go trainers need a community manager who is managing their expectations and keep them updated. Here is another thread on reddit that Niantic should read to learn what the Pokemon Go community wants.