Gamification mechanic monday: loss

Gamification mechanic monday: loss

Pokemon Go went from one of my favourite great games to bottom of the list, the update enforced by the company lost all my data, my progress and the little investment I made without seemingly any recourse from the Niantec nor Nintendo. This is the reply I received when I reported the issue, after having tried everything they suggested on their site and the suggestions of some fellow unfortunate players on reddit.


We’ve received your report and will follow up with you if we need any additional information. Please visit our [Known Issues page]( to see if your issue is already addressed.

If you’re having a temporary issue with Pokémon GO that you’re not able to reproduce reliably, note that in general, one of the following should resolve it:
*Android devices: From your device’s Home screen, visit Settings > Touch Apps or Application Manager > Pokémon GO, and touch Force Stop. Visit Storage and touch Clear Cache.
*iOS devices: From your device’s Home screen, visit Settings > Privacy > Location Services and toggle Pokémon GO off then back on.
*Remove and then reinstall the Pokémon GO app.
*Reboot your device.

Your game progress will not be lost by performing these steps, as all game progress is stored online. 

Please note that you won’t receive a personalized response regarding your issue unless more information is needed to investigate. Be assured that we review all reports submitted to us and will use your report to improve Pokémon GO. Thank you for your help.


The sense of loss after carefully logging in on a daily basis since the game became available and doing my best to nurture my crew of Pokemon, feels as if someone stole your favourite toy, broke it and when you get it back it doesn’t work as it should. To top it you then receive a cold shower email like the one above, which quite frankly for a popular game is not acceptable. To me it reads like we don’t care if you have a problem, go figure it out yourself and don’t bother us, we will just take your money and effort and run.

Some of the people affected are not going back to the service. They are like me less than impressed at the level of support. I just want my original profile and credit back and then I will play again, if I can’t get that then I will not be supporting the game either.

Like with all new things, it will take time to get it 100% correct. Niantic and Nintendo for that matter, the latter who washes their hands of Pokemon Go support were very happy to take money, put other people with related services such as maps out of business, yet supporting their own customers who are really the ones who made the game go viral is seriously lacking. Take a lesson from Apple on that one.

I have to say with the game being a good example of gamification, it also illustrates the sense of loss that comes with emotional attachment to a game system. When applied to work scenario’s the reason for starting to use the system may well be business, the emotional attachment to the outcome and results through your own effort is no less significant. As gamification designers often of systems, we want to make sure a support system is in place, to avoid this situation.

In an employee engagement situation this kind of lack of support added to the loss scenario, would result rapidly into actively disengaged people doing damage to your brand and to better motivated fellow workers, nobody likes injustice due to incompetence especially systems related. In customer engagement, the same applies, some customers will never come back and the ones who lost out will be actively dissing your brand and game in this case.

I had experienced a similar scenario when moving from my old Macbook to my new Macbook and all my frustration and anger was resolved by a fabulous support function. I could contact them any time and find someone willing to help and all my files and original material was found and transferred after a few hours of support. It has worked properly ever since. Even systems issues can be forgiven provided you show you care and can eventually resolve it.

The feeling of loss comes up when you lose all progress, data like what happened here, but it also happens when systems change appearance and when functionality is moved around or simply removed. Especially if it was popular, beware of the loss backlash. From a change management perspective I would say be prepared for the negative feedback to come and be ready to explain why for the next two to three weeks. Initially unless it is massively hampering progress for people I would say don’t change anything. Typically acceptance follows. Great support will smooth the transition.

If however there is a major flaw in the upgrade, you fix it as soon as you can and be very apologetic to those affected. (hint hint Niantec!!!) At the same time one begs the question, where was testing in all the upgrade process.

In any case loss can happen and can also give you an opportunity to show what your true values are as a company towards your customer or employee. I choose to care and I hope the Niantec crew will get to that point very soon, if not they have lost a fan.

1 thought on “Gamification mechanic monday: loss”

  1. As an update to this post. I tried this morning to log in with a gmail account that I hadn't linked with the game nor ever used on my phone. It did have my original email as the verification email and all my progress and credit was back. That in my view triggers a whole different question and one of breach of privacy on google? Anyway the good news is that play continues, my 1000+ cp creatures are back, levels intact, credit all there…only missing item really is Niantec support

Leave a comment

Our Solutions