Pokemon GO has over 500 million players, with many of them playing the game every single day. But those numbers may soon drop as the game will no longer be playable for millions of users running an older version of iOS.
An official post from the Pokemon GO support team confirms that Pokemon GO will soon be ending support for the iOS 8 operating system. The support team encourages players on iOS 8 to “upgrade their operating systems to iOS 9 and above for uninterrupted access to Pokemon GO.” Players have until November 20th, 2017 to upgrade to iOS 9 and above or else they will lose access to the game.
As the game’s official support team notes, iOS 8 was first released in 2014 and there have been many “major improvements” to the iOS operating system since. “By removing support for iOS 8, we are able to streamline our development process and focus resources on supporting newer operating systems and technologies,” the support post explains.
The post also states that the “vast majority” of Pokemon GO players on iOS are already using a higher version of the operating system. According to Apple’s official iOS usage statistics, less than 10% of iOS users are running an operating system older than iOS 9. However, there are over 700 million iOS users around the world, and so it still means that a lot of people could be about to lose access to the hit mobile game.
For those who are unable to upgrade their iOS devices in order to keep playing Pokemon GO this announcement will be massively disappointing. But for the vast majority of players, this will be good news. It means that the game’s developer, Niantic, is hoping to use the iOS operating system in the best way possible.
Fans are also confident that this means that Pokemon GO‘s long-awaited trading and PvP features are right around the corner. Niantic may not have been able to get trading and player versus player battles working on the older iOS operating system, but now the developer won’t have to hold back.
Niantic is preparing lots of other updates for Pokemon GO too, such as new social features, having just purchased social game developer Evertoon in order to make that happen. It’s unclear exactly what forms all of these new features may take, but the removal of iOS 8 support could loosen the reigns, giving Niantic more freedom in what it adds to the game in the future.