Niantic Labs has increased the scan refresh rate in Pokemon Go, making it a bit more difficult for those riding bikes or using public transportation to find Pokemon in their area.
Prior to this week, the Pokemon Go app scanned for new Pokemon in the area every five seconds. That’s how long it would take for the game to register a Pokemon on your map when it spawns. But now, Niantic has doubled this scan refresh time to ten seconds, as observed on Reddit.
This might not sound too important, but some are complaining that this is making it challenging to catch Pokemon while in vehicles or on bikes. Before the update, the refresh rate was fast enough that players riding bicycles, for example, could see a Pokemon register on their map in time to stop and catch it. There has been an even greater affect on playing the game in vehicles, though, as the refresh rate makes it rare for Pokemon to spawn on your map while you are in motion.
This change may have been done in order to ease the strain on the game’s servers, which have been experiencing difficulties but which have been slightly more stable after recent updates. It’s also speculated that this could have been done in order to prevent third-party scanner services from working. Niantic has made clear that they are not happy with websites and apps that help players locate Pokemon in real time; this new refresh rate will make any of those services stop working until they update their API, and even when they do, they will no longer work quite as fast.
It also could be that Niantic just plain does not like the idea of anyone playing the game without walking, and so this change was implemented specifically to make using Pokemon Go under any other circumstance more difficult if not downright impossible.
But this is yet another change that Pokemon Go users are expressing frustration with, especially those who previously enjoyed using the app on a bike because they live in a rural area.
“I carpool to work and I always play when it’s not my turn to drive,” one Reddit user wrote. “I would see at least seven or eight Pokemon every morning. This morning I saw two. I didn’t know that they made this change and I didn’t think Niantic could make this game any worse for suburban/rural players, but somehow they managed to.”
Some have argued that the change isn’t actually that significant, though; a Reddit user named DigitalChocobo found that for bicyclists, with 10 second scans, there’s only about an 8 percent difference in the area covered compared to 5 second scans. This, however, doesn’t factor in the delay between a Pokemon spawning and appearing on the map.