Pokemon GO finally gets a new Pokemon tracker in select places outside San Francisco

Remember when Pokemon GO got a new system for finding nearby Pokemon (to replace the one that’d broke almost immediately after launch) … but it worked pretty much exclusively in San Francisco? Well, good news/bad news time.

The good news: more people outside of San Francisco are getting it now!

The bad news: its still not for everybody.

The company just announced a small roll out on their Facebook page.

The regions that are getting the tracker starting immediately:

  • The rest of the San Francisco Bay Area (we’ve confirmed it’s up and working in Oakland)
  • Parts of Arizona (they don’t specify which parts, but I’d guess its the major cities)
  • The Seattle area of Washington

That seems like a pretty small chunk of the world considering that they first rolled out the tracker in San Francisco three months ago — but I’ll take it. Progress is progress, and hopefully it snowballs from here.

The hobbled tracking system has been one of the most complained-about issues in the game — it makes the game less about tracking nearby Pokémon and more about wandering aimlessly. The game had a tracking system at launch that seemed to work well enough, but it was disabled within the week as the game’s servers crumbled under the strain of the hype train.

Players filled the gap with external Pokémon tracking systems that they’d built themselves — many of which tapped Niantic’s APIs in unofficial ways for data. The company moved to lock down their API, and many of these mapping services subsequently went down as a result.

This newer tracker isn’t quite the same as the one that appeared at launch. Whereas the original system used a set of footprint icons to convey distance and thus allowed the player to figure out when they were walking in the right direction, the new system instead tells you which PokéStop a Pokemon is near. And if the Pokémon isn’t near any Poké Stop… well, you’re back to walking aimlessly.

Between the Halloween event, the announcement of daily play bonuses, and this — all within the last week — it seems Niantic has finally started to gain some speed when it comes to getting things into the game.