Pokemon Go Dev Compares Game to World of Warcraft, Calls Server Issues “a Punch in the Stomach”

Pokemon Go developer Niantic Labs has spoken about the “painful” summer it faced after the game’s July launch, as well as its plans for future content.

In an interview with Eurogamer, the company’s chief marketing officer Mike Quigley said, “We were overwhelmed by how [Pokémon Go] took off. The success of the product caught us out of position in a couple of areas. The summer was quite painful–no one slept much.”

Niantic faced heavy criticism earlier this year when it blocked the use of third party apps–used to find rare monsters–and disabled major features such as the ability to track Pokemon. Quigley defended the decisions, saying the company was forced to cut content just to keep the game running. “[The apps] were just crushing us on the server side,” he says. “You’ve got to keep fans happy but you also have to keep the core product accessible.

Quigley also remembers Niantic worrying about how Pokemon Go’s teething problems would affect Nintendo and The Pokemon Company. “It’s not a good signal for their brand,” he said. “That’s why we had to make some of those hard decisions like blocking third-party sites. It’s difficult but ultimately it’s the right thing to do for the life of the product.”

Indeed, Nintendo and Pokemon Go’s success were closely linked for the duration of the summer–the game still reportedly makes $2 million per day, and its huge initial download rate triggered an 86% surge in Nintendo shares in just one week.

Quigley went on to compare the mobile hit to long-running MMO World of Warcraft: “I think our lifespan and curve may be quite different from a free-to-play mobile game–it may be more in a Warcraft vein.

“We are more an MMO than anything else. Every two weeks there’s new content or bug fixes going in the game. There’s key content releases we’re planning.”

In terms of Pokemon Go’s future, we already know trading and links to Pokemon Sun and Moon are in the pipeline, while Quigley points to the ongoing reintroduction of the Nearby feature.

As for reports claiming Ditto is on its way? “Stay tuned,” teases Quigley.

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