They Ruined GeoGuessr…

For several years, GeoGuessr — a game that uses Street View from Google Maps to show a random image for a player to guess its location — has been a free and fun game for travelers and non-travelers alike. It includes additional themed maps and a multiplayer mode available for users that have GeoGuessr PRO, a paid subscription. Refer to this article written on December 23, 2016 for the original article about the game. However, in July 2019, the free experience became severely limited.

They Ruined GeoGuessr…

On Thursday, July 4, 2019, GeoGuessr creator Anton Wallén announced on Reddit that users that do not have the PRO status will have access to a much simpler version of the game due to the costs to keep the game operating:

Back in 2013 when we started GeoGuessr I never imagined that it would take off like it did. Today, six years later, we are a growing community with millions of members!

While this is awesome in every way, a game of this magnitude has its challenges and one of them are the rising costs to keep the site up and running. I’m writing this to let you know that after the summer some changes will come regarding how non-pro users can play the game. Basically there will be a simpler version of GeoGuessr for non-pro users as well as limitations on what maps that will be available.

If you enjoy GeoGuessr, want to have the best possible experience and at the same time support GeoGuessr we highly recommend that you give PRO a go, try it out for free for 10 days.

If you have any thoughts please let us know in our support forum.

Let’s explore the world!

Anton Wallén, Founder/Geography enthusiast

An API, or application program interface, is a program or set of code that allows data to be transmitted between two or more software platforms, and can also be used by different companies or businesses, usually at a cost.

Since GeoGuessr uses the Street View API from Google Maps, as well as the map itself for the guessing window, it must pay Google for the use of both of these. Google also greatly increased these prices recently, and many sites that have used Google API have switched to other services. However, none of them are as extensive as Google Street View. The heavy increase of players since the game debuted in 2013 also increases the cost to maintain the game.

As a result, GeoGuessr had no choice but to limit the free experience in hopes of users switching to PRO in order to cover these costs. Other alternatives to GeoGuessr, such as the game Eighty Clicks, has followed suit. Google created the API for other businesses to use, and in turn make a profit for itself. This has proven effective based on the increase of the costs to use this API. A table of API costs to use Google Maps can be found here.

Summary

As a person who enjoyed GeoGuessr for a few years, I decided to try the free version to see how limited it truly is. It is certainly limited, as a panoramic view is no longer available and it repeats the location often. I ended up in the same location near the town of Nasinu, Fiji twice in a round of five locations. The free version also does not use Google API and it is blurry, so using signs and license plates as clues has gotten more difficult. I decided that upgrading to PRO was not worth it, as I would much rather put forth the $1.99 per month towards a trip so that I can see the world in real life and not pay to see it on a screen.

Source: GeoGuessr.

22 thoughts on “They Ruined GeoGuessr…”

  1. Teoanhüjevagy says:

    “I decided that upgrading to PRO was not worth it, as I would much rather put forth the $1.99 per month towards a trip so that I can see the world in real life and not pay to see it on a screen.”
    What kind of trip are you talking about? For $24 a year you aint going anywhere.

    1. Matthew Cohen says:

      There’s a difference between putting some money towards a trip and paying for a trip… it doesn’t mean that I’m only paying for the trip with the money I set aside.

      1. Teoanhüjevagy says:

        Yeah of course, but I feel like 2 bucks a month is just basically nothing.

        1. Vepr1 says:

          Yeah it’s nothing for the wealthy first-world countries citizens. Gues I just have to skip a couple of meals to afford to play this game

          1. elixof says:

            Well said… Those first world citizens only looking out for number one

          2. NickGerz says:

            Then just use the simple, free version or find an alternative? How is it fair if the developers get to be the ones footed with the upkeep of the game? Would you prefer that the game get shut down altogether because there’s not enough money going in to keep it running?

    2. Samwise Gamgee says:

      Don’t pay $10 a month for Netlfix. Save it up and buy your own movie studio!

  2. Joe says:

    This article spittin facts

    1. joe says:

      innit mandem

  3. I mean, there are Free Alternatives to GeoGuessr out there.. one of my favorites is City Guesser which I’ve linked below. Instead of streetview, it shows real video of places. They also have a Country Streak mode which is quite fun.

    virtualvacation.us/guess

    But I admit, it’s quite sad that people are being locked out. 😐 I stopped paying for Pro a while back.

  4. Alex Phell says:

    You know, this is one of the most exciting games I’ve found in a while! It’s so cool to test your knowledge of geography and culture. It’s good that API and other technology like this helps with that.

  5. Well everybody who wants to travel should look a good map ,If he is hitchhiking .or walking ion long ways there is most probably chances for misguide.

  6. blade says:

    coooool :p …

    wait geoguessr was freeeeeeeeeeee at one point whelp time to time travel

  7. Raluca says:

    how about you start appreciating the work of some people and pay? I hate people who expect everything to be free. Would you do something for free? NO.

    1. Blarb McGarb says:

      @Raluca

      They started charging to make the thing worse. Everyone would have been more than happy for it to stay the same and still be free. I could give a shit less about “BaTtLe RoYaLe MoDe”, I just want to play the classic mode. They allow you to play it once a day for free, only after monetizing your info Im sure.

      How about companies take their consumers into consideration before ruining their products? They could have made way more money by having a popular free game with advertising than by being greedy and ruining it into the ground.

      I hate people who dont recognize that that companies are already making money hand over fist on advertising and thats why stuff is free.

      1. seaurch1n says:

        ??? there’s no greed involved here. Google hiked up their API costs to 14x what it originally cost, so the game became way too expensive to run for free. The devs had no choice but to implement the payment plan just to keep the game afloat. Yes the free version kind of sucks, but you can still play an unlimited number of challenges on the r/geochallenges subreddit for free. Don’t complain about the devs being “greedy” when they’re trying their best to make the game as engaging as possible despite the insane overhead costs.

  8. Michael Campbell says:

    This article is just dumb.

    Complaining you’d rather put $2 towards a vacation instead is like saying “I’d rather save $5 on a cab and put it towards a new Lincoln Town Car”

    To the person who said they will have to miss meals, that’s complete BS. You can afford internet? A device to use the internet? Great, you can afford $2 a month. Don’t act like your life is unmanagable to the point where you literally cannot feed yourself because a random website on the internet started charging money. If that’s the reality for you then your personal finances are the issue, not some online game.

    Keep in mind this isn’t some privilege you’re entitled to. Its a private entity that doesn’t owe you jack squat. They had the choice to show advertisements at a detriment to the quality of the experience but decided not to. This is a great way to circumvent the advertising that has totally engulfed every free to use service on the planet.

    We live in a world where people struggle to access basic things like shelter, food, medicine, etc. Focusing on something like a $2/month website is a great demonstration that you’ve lived a privileged life and that these are the issues that regularly cross your mind. It’s pathetic really.

    1. cars26 says:

      “They had the choice to show advertisements at a detriment to the quality of the experience but decided not to. This is a great way to circumvent the advertising that has totally engulfed every free to use service on the planet.”

      What a wrong reasoning this is. You don´t “circumvent” around something that has determined the way the world works with the Internet, that´s synonymous for seeking to lose users.

      Detriment? Really? And then you have the nerve to complain about people with “privileged life”, when some small ad in the way turns out to be something “detrimental” to you. Amazing.

      Hilarious how you acknowledge that “We live in a world where people struggle to access basic things like shelter, food, medicine, etc.”, while denying someone´s claim about barely having money to eat because he/she has access to the Internet and a device. You´ve never been remotely close to a needy person it seems. Many people set aside amounts of money to be able to keep an operating cellphone with limited data, and while indeed this drains them out money, they do it to at least keep communication with the rest of the world. Can you imagine being needy AND not being able to communicate?

      Save yourself from your ignorance.

  9. cars26 says:

    “They had the choice to show advertisements at a detriment to the quality of the experience but decided not to. This is a great way to circumvent the advertising that has totally engulfed every free to use service on the planet.”

    What a wrong reasoning this is. You don´t “circumvent” around something that has determined the way the world works with the Internet, that´s synonymous for seeking to lose users.

    Detriment? Really? And then you have the nerve to complain about people with “privileged life”, when some small ad in the way turns out to be something “detrimental” to you. Amazing.

    Hilarious how you acknowledge that “We live in a world where people struggle to access basic things like shelter, food, medicine, etc.”, while denying someone´s claim about barely having money to eat because he/she has access to the Internet and a device. You´ve never been remotely close to a needy person it seems. Many people set aside amounts of money to be able to keep an operating cellphone with limited data, and while indeed this drains them out money, they do it to at least keep communication with the rest of the world. Can you imagine being needy AND not being able to communicate?

    Save yourself from your ignorance.

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