Why are Niantic games not marketed as "crowd-sourced"?

First of all, with the in-game maps (a star feature, for sure) being filled with points provided by the community, it is a fact.

Also, there seems to be a disconnect with regular players and Wayfarer. With "crowd-sourced" being a part of your first experience, maybe more people will look into what exactly is crowd-sourced and learn about Wayfarer that way?

And then it's the marketing value of the word "crowd-sourced". I'm not an expert in any way, but surely it's a positive word? Like "play together with fiends" or "be social with others"?



  • ftzzghzuhdidu-INGftzzghzuhdidu-ING Posts: 391 ✭✭✭

    That sounds almost like communism. /s

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 2,230 Ambassador

    One more time, in English this time.

  • phi2458-PGOphi2458-PGO Posts: 164 ✭✭✭

    I’m also not an expert in marketing. But as a student of computer science, I would like to provide an opinion from a perspective of software engineering.

    First of all, similar to other technology words, the word “crowd-sourced” is neutral. It is a methodology of software development. Second, developers will not apply a methodology merely because the methodology sounds cool. The methodology should be a solution to the problem. For example, Niantic developers won’t say that “Hey, nanotechnology sounds cool. Let’s apply it to our system.” Nanotechnology probably does not help in this context.

    The idea of crowdsourcing is to outsource the tasks to a large group of online workers. The benefit of crowdsourcing is that the development costs and time can be reduced significantly [1]. The tasks should be simple enough. In this way, the workers can complete their tasks without knowing the entire context of the system [2]. The characteristic of the Wayfarer system is that the number of reviewing tasks is large. And the workers who perform reviewing tasks need not know the entire Wayfarer system, such as database architecture and synchronization process. In this context, it is perfect for Wayfarer to apply crowdsourcing methodology. With this methodology, costs can be reduced significantly.

    On the one hand, development costs can be reduced significantly with crowdsourcing. On the other hand, there are some challenges of crowdsourcing. One of the major challenges is the quality issue [2]. Since the workers may not do things right, there should be a mechanism to ensure the quality of the result. Otherwise, the result will become a disaster.

    As you may see, there are a lot of abuse reports on this forum. Take Taiwan as an example. In Taiwan, the Wayfarer system has been dominated by abusers. They have created hundreds of low-quality wayspots. They also tore down gyms and rebuilt the gyms at the location in their favor. Abuse reports seem useless to the abusers. They just built the wayspots back if the wayspots were removed by the admin. To make things worse, the abusers took revenge on the whistleblower by sending massive malicious removal reports in the hometown of the whistleblower. Hundreds of eligible wayspots in Chiayi were removed by the abusers. And now, no one dares to report the abusers. Please refer to this discussion for the whole story: https://community.wayfarer.nianticlabs.com/discussion/22512/80k-wayfarer-reviews-and-now-i-quit/p1

    I’m not sure if there is any action against the abusers. I’m also not sure about the quality assurance mechanisms in the Wayfarer system. The current situation is that the qualified reviewers struggle to get their nominations accepted while the abusers take advantage easily of the system. It is not surprising that the quality of reviewing becomes lower and lower.


    [1] T. D. LaToza and A. van der Hoek, "Crowdsourcing in Software Engineering: Models, Motivations, and Challenges," in IEEE Software, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 74-80, Jan.-Feb. 2016.

    [2] T. D. LaToza, A. Di Lecce, F. Ricci, W. B. Towne and A. van der Hoek, "Microtask Programming," in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 45, no. 11, pp. 1106-1124, 1 Nov. 2019.


    My point is that the quality assurance mechanism is important to crowd-sourced tasks. Without the mechanism, things will become a disaster.

  • OGMagus-INGOGMagus-ING Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    I guess I should have asked more directly;

    Gee,this went southward fast. My fault, I should have asked @NianticTintino directly:

    Could you and/or someone on the marketing teams, and/or someone that works with Wayfarer onboarding, care to comment?

  • theHarryPutter-PGOtheHarryPutter-PGO Posts: 94 ✭✭

    I would say that they aren’t marketed as crowd source, because the actual game is built by the devs. Yes the map built by players, BUT this isn’t a Google Maps project, they are video games. That’s my 2 cents 🤣

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 2,230 Ambassador

    Thanks for explaining in English, that was actually a very good explanation.

  • PkmnTrainerJ-INGPkmnTrainerJ-ING Posts: 5,055 Ambassador

    I would say that it could be argued that with Lightship they can say they aren’t.

    Players nominate POI to go into Niantic Lightship. Then Niantic Lightship allows POI to go into games using the ARDK to their maps.

    So Pokémon GO for example “isn’t” crowdsourced. Niantic Lightship however is.

  • phi2458-PGOphi2458-PGO Posts: 164 ✭✭✭

    I would say Niantic Lightship is PaaS (Platform as a Service) rather than crowdsourced. According to the description on the Niantic blog, Niantic Lightship is a platform that provides a suite of tools and services. These tools and services allow developers to build their applications.

    The definition of crowdsourced is that a large task is divided into many simple tasks. And have a large group of online workers complete the simple tasks. I would say Niantic Wayfarer is crowdsourced, but Niantic Lightship isn’t.

    @OGMagus-ING By the way, what is the response that you expect to receive from Niantic?

  • OGMagus-INGOGMagus-ING Posts: 51 ✭✭✭

    I'm talking about "marketing" and how it could connect to Wayfarer recruitment.

    "Marketing", not "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" - it's all about how you spin it. "Built by players", "founded on crowd-sourced technology" - there is probably many ways to express this sentiment - but we see zero. New players have no idea how POIs are made.

    Yet we express an influx of new wayfarers, somehow.

  • Roli112-PGORoli112-PGO Posts: 2,230 Ambassador

    I'm not sure how this helps with marketing, the average person doesn't know what those terms are so how does that change anything?

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