Niantic has offered some insight on two recent controversial moves: the removal of Pokemon GO's step tracker, and the shutdown of third-party tracking sites.
Earlier this week, Pokemon GO developer Niantic made some rather controversial moves. First, it disabled the "bugged" step-tracker feature from the game. Second, it hit third-party Pokemon tracking website Pokevision with a cease-and-desist, shutting down the service. Fans were particularly upset at the lack of communication from the company on these moves, so today, in a Facebook post, it has officially responded.
"We have removed the '3-step' display in order to improve upon the underlying design," wrote the company. "The original feature, although enjoyed by many, was also confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals. We will keep you posted as we strive to improve this feature."
As for the shutdown of Pokevision, "We have limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokemon GO to users around the world." It continued to state that the global launch of the game has been much more challenging that expected, and still hopes to get it launched in territories like Brazil that still do not have it.
When the game went live in Japan, the "3-step" display was already bugged, so I can't comment too much on the usefulness of the feature. From the sounds of it though, it turned the game from more of a "let's go for a walk and see what Pokemon pop up" to an actual "let's hunt for specific Pokemon!"