Update: After suffering days without Pokémon in Central Austin and a campaign to correct the problem, Pokémon Go is now in full effect in the formerly dead zone.
According to numerous tweets and comments on the /PokémonGoAustin Reddit page, the game was became active downtown around 5pm Tuesday.
Yes, of course, Austin is swept up in the Pokémon Go frenzy that has the rest of the country stumbling about its towns and possibly exposing its Google data to catch virtual Poké critters (or something). Unlike other cities, however, Austin has some major issues with the game.
Notably, as many users have complained on Reddit’s PokémonGoAustin page (and as Eater Austin reported yesterday), there is a dearth of Pokégyms and Pokéstops in Central Austin. Since the game is touted as a way for people to explore their cites, which includes local businesses, Austin players see this as a pretty big bug.
In response, a call to arms has just been made on the PokémonGoAustin page. A post by Preheat states, in part: "I know plenty of people who have abandoned their favorite central Austin hangouts in favor of places with Stops and Gyms implemented. That's not cool for local Austin businesses! ... Lets help raise awareness by getting local news involved. Help local Austin Parks and Businesses get their stops and gyms!" followed by the hashtag of the moment, #fixATXpogo, and the Twitter and Facebook info for outlets that have covered Austin’s Pokémon Go participation.
Comments on the Reddit page explain how to contact Ninantic Labs, Pokémon Go developer (co-founded by a UT grad, apparently, by the way), and also kindly point out that that company’s employees are probably exhausted due to a rough rollout of the nonetheless wildly popular game. (One supposes such kindness from people who chase adorable virtual creatures around the city is to be expected, but it’s still nice to see.)
Until the bug is fixed, Pokémon Go users must travel out of the central city to retrieve more Pokéballs with which to catch their prey. In the meantime, players have started an "Austin Area Comprehensive Pokemon Go Guide" thread on Reddit, and a user has posted maps of where potential Pokéstops might be in central and East Austin.
• PokemongoAustin [Reddit]
• Pokémon Go Takes Over Austin Restaurants and Bars [Eater Austin]