The New “Pokemon Go” Update For Aug. 8 Includes A Test Of A New Tracking System & A Whole Lot More

It’s only been a little over a week since the last one, but hey, guess what? There’s a new “Pokemon Go” update in town, and it’s got a whooooole lot of fun stuff for us to play with. Released by Niantic for both iOS and Android devices on Aug. 8, the update includes a few smaller fixes as well as some bigger additions to the popular augmented reality game. If you want to check it out, here’s how to update “Pokemon Go”; if you’re on iOS, you should be updating to version 1.3.0, while if you’re an Android user, it’ll be version 0.33.0.

So what does the update actually consist of? I'll be honest: The smaller changes aren't actually all that exciting. According to the "Pokemon Go" update release notes, they include the following:

  • Improvements have been made to the accuracy of curveballs thrown while attempting to catch Pokemon.
  • A bug that failed to award players the appropriate experience bonuses for “Nice,” “Great,” and Excellent” Pokeball throws has been fixed.
  • A bug that displayed incorrect Medal icons has been fixed.
  • A few fixes have been made to the text displayed in the game.
  • Full visuals of the Team leadersCandela for Team Valor, Blanche for Team Mystic, and Spark for Team Instinct—have been added (although truth be told, I’m not sure where — I can’t see them anywhere in my game, so I assume we’re talking about the screen you see when you actually select your team upon reaching Trainer Level Five).

Are you kind of like this right now?

Yeah, me too.

But although that bunch of additions may not be terribly interesting, you know what are worth a look? The bigger updates. They include:

  • A dialogue that reminds Trainers not to play “Pokemon Go” while traveling above a certain speed. If you see this dialogue, you’ll also have to confirm that you’re not driving while playing.
  • The reappearance of the battery saver feature for iOS users in a new and improved form.
  • The ability to change your Trainer name once and only once.
  • And for some users, a test of a new “Nearby Pokemon” tracking feature.

OK, so maybe some of these updates aren’t big, but they’re notable nonetheless. I find the “confirm that you’re not driving” feature (not its official name, but colloquially, one that makes sense) both hilarious and sobering; I mean, it sounds ridiculous, having to confirm that you’re not driving once the app realizes you’re traveling over a certain speed — however, the fact that it was deemed a necessary addition is a little bit terrifying. The return of the battery saver, too, may not be groundbreaking, but it might make a big difference for iOS users.

It’s the last two that are truly momentous. The ability to change your name continues the whole “update your Trainer even after you’ve started the game” idea that the previous update introduced. (After July 31, we gained the ability to change our avatars’ appearances at will.) This time, it comes with a caveat: The release notes read, “Enabled the ability for Trainers to change their nickname one time, so please choose your new nickname wisely.” Unlike the avatar appearance addition, the name change one doesn’t let you continually make changes to your character; if you don’t like the first name you picked, you’ve only got one chance to rename yourself. After that, you're stuck with it.

But the crown jewel in this particular Pokecrown? The icing on the Pokecake? It’s hands down the new “Nearby Pokemon” feature. The July 31 update saw the disappearance of the “footsteps tracker” function, which Niantic noted in a statement on their Facebook page was due to the fact that the feature, “although enjoyed by many, was also confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals.” However, the company also stated at the time, “We will keep you posted as we strive to improve this feature,” which suggested that we hadn’t seen the last of some sort of tracker existing within “Pokemon Go.”

This, indeed, seems to be the case: According to the release notes for the Aug. 8 updated, “a variation of the ‘Nearby Pokemon’ feature" is being tested with “a subset of users.” We don’t know how many people have it, or where they’re located, or any other details of that ilk; however, TechCrunch has a pretty good idea of what the new "Pokemon Go" tracker looks like, so head on over there to check it out. Note, though, that what’s currently being tested might change; the release notes continue, “During this period, you may see some variation in the nearby Pokemon UI.”

Alas, I do not appear to have the “Nearby Pokemon” test — but at least there are still plenty of other new features to keep me occupied. I’m actually weirdly excited to test out the “confirm you’re not driving” thing the next time I’m a passenger in a car. Not while behind the wheel, mind you, because seriously, you guys — don’t play “Pokemon Go” and drive.

OK. PSA over. Go out there and catch ‘em all!

Images: Giphy (3)