Pokemon GO Distance Tracking Update - GPS Drift Nerf

The newest update to Pokemon GO, at least on the surface, doesn’t bring anything major to the game. Minor text changes and some small cosmetic update to the Apple watch version. One point, however, is worth discussing. Namely, version 0.53.1 for Android and 1.23.1 for iOS changed distance tracking to account for GPS drift. This impacts both egg hatching and walking with your Buddy Pokemon. guess some bad news were due after the great time we had during the holidays, eh?

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Pokemon GO Egg Hatching Update - GPS Drift Nerf
Pokemon GO Egg Hatching Update – GPS Drift Nerf

For those of you that don’t know, GPS drift basically means that your GPS device might show you moving around even if you’re standing still. Translated to Pokemon GO, you could get about 0.1 km every so often just from drifting. It’s not a lot by any measure, but it adds up over time. Trainers have been using this to their advantage as much as possible. In fact, if you google GPS drift, most results will somehow connect to Pokemon GO. It seems that Niantic have decided to put a stop to that. Now, this seems as a fair decision, right? Why would anybody get extra distance for nothing? Well, in practice, it’s not so simple.

This decision wouldn’t irk me so much if distance tracking were flawless otherwise. We all know full well that it’s not. The distance tracker consistently robs trainers off their kilometers, and by a larger margin than 0.1. I once walked a full five kilometers, and the app registered 3.9. Using GPS drift was just a way to compensate at least a little for what we lost. Now, we won’t even have that much. This leads me nicely into my second point.

I might be wrong here, but it seems to me like hatching eggs and walking with your Buddy Pokemon has replaced Gym Battles as the ultimate goal in Pokemon GO. Yes, there isn’t any end game per se, but this is the easiest way to progress. I’m fine with that, since I don’t like battling anyway; it’s just boring. But now, Niantic made both of the “main” features into a bigger hassle than they needed to be.

Couple that with the fact that it’s really, really cold in many areas of the world right now, and you have a perfect mess. I really think this wasn’t the best of moves.

What’s your opinion on this nerf? Do you think it’s fair or not? Tell us in the comments!

Author JoeTheBard profile picture
A language teacher and video game enthusiast turned rogue, Joe is on a quest to become the ultimate gaming journalist. This is somewhat hampered by his belief that the golden age of gaming ended with the PlayStation One, but he doesn't let that stop him. His favorite games include Soul Reaver and Undertale. Other interests are D'n'D, dad rock, complaining about movies, and being the self-appointed office funny man, which nobody else agrees with.



  1. S

    You made a few good points and agree! I’m a jogger and every afternoon jog just over 4k while playing Pokemon Go. I’m NEVER rewarded the true distance and drifting for me was like you said jus a way to get back that “which was stolen” from me. Happy playing!

    1. I’m glad you agree. This will make playing more annoying than it needs to be, but oh well. There’s a lot of other stuff to look forward to!

  2. J

    Good post.
    I agree with you. The GPS tracking system in pokemon is really bad (I guess it is more because of the unacccuratelly of the GPS system itself, not because of the app of pokemon GO). I like they change it to make it fairer. But they should keep working on it, not stop just now.

    1. I agree that it’s fairer to eliminate drifting on paper, but they do have a long way to go still.

  3. R
    Rude stray

    I can add to this actually about how much of a hassle this is now. I cycle to work and the distance is 6.2 miles one way. That’s 9.9km exactly. I did some testing and I’m only getting registered 3.6km. This hurts my playing of pokemon go majorly since I take this trip twice a day on any day that I work. I went from hatching three to four 5k eggs to only hatching one per work day. The drift affects the people who cycle or jog to hatch eggs more then those who walk, and I think it’s something speed related yet again.

    1. Holy damn, that’s bad. I assume you’re cycling under the speed cap?

  4. B

    The mileage is terrible. Eventually the challenge just gets boring. It’s the same thing over and over. If your not feeling rewarded for your efforts and the progression is so daunting eventually people will loose interest. Especially once the next “best thing” comes out. I think mileage should be generous! Especially since you can’t play as a passenger much anymore. Also if you are willing to spend money on the game you should atleast be able to buy some infinity incubators!

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