I have not been posting for a while now, because I am still working on getting my next big project out – a web-based service. It is always difficult to decide when to go live with a product. Some say that if you are not embarrassed about the first release of your product, then you have launched too late. Others say the exact opposite. I have to thank Niantic for providing a good example for what happens when a product (a web-based product too) is launched prematurely.

Pokémon GO is currently all the rage: non-gamers are drawn to it, a lot of people can be seen playing it on the streets or in parks, and local businesses are tailoring their marketing around Pokémon (slogans, baked goods, theme nights). It sounds like a tremendous success, right?

Unfortunately, negative impressions have started making their rounds. Players cannot log in to the service, the app itself is buggy, and Niantic still does not employ a community liaison. In Apple’s App Store, the current version of the game has gone down from a 3.5/5 star rating to 3/5 stars.

I think Pokémon GO is a great reminder to all startups/entrepreneurs that quality is very much valued by customers and that a hype wave can easily turn into negative marketing. How many users will remember the game’s start-up screen with Niantic’s logo and the phrase “The Pokémon Company” before being unable to log in to the service or the game freezes? I will remember Niantic as “The Ingress Company” and I hope for them that the current catch phrase “Pokémon NO” is not going to stick to their brand.

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Adventures of an independent software developer.

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