Niantic’s CEO comments on Pokémon Go trackers, focusing on worldwide rollout

It has been a tumultuous week for Pokemon Go fans, we’ve had tracker changes, the catch and flee rate has been all over the place – but good news Latin America and Brazil  got the game this week.

And they would have got it sooner if it wasn’t for those damn ‘trackers’, according to Niantic CEO, John Hanke.

In an open letter published on Niantic’s website, Hanke has written about third party tracking sites and how they’ve impacted getting the game out to more people.

As some of you may have noticed we recently rolled out Pokémon GO to Latin America including Brazil. We were very excited to finally be able to take this step. We were delayed in doing that due to aggressive efforts by third parties to access our servers outside of the Pokémon GO game client and our terms of service.

While Pokevision and other apps have been blocked for a week or more there was still ways to get around this (including running your own ‘server’). These other methods have now been blocked too and if you look at this chart you can see why.

Server resources before and after block.

Server resources before and after block.

 We blocked some more of those attempts yesterday. Since there has been some public discussion about this, we wanted to shed some more light on why we did this and why these seemingly innocuous sites and apps actually hurt our ability to deliver the game to new and existing players. The chart below shows the drop in server resources consumed when we blocked scrapers. Freeing those resources allowed us to proceed with the Latin America launch.

Unfortunately whether its “enthusiastic fans” or “blatant commercial ventures” trying to access Pokemon Go’s data outside the app the effect on the server is the same. Hanke says that the development team has to spend time working on these issues instead of building new features.

Of course, there are also outright hackers out there attempting to break into systems, hijack social media accounts, and even bring down the service. Some of them have posted publicly about their attempts.

We don’t expect these attempts to stop. But we do want you to understand why we have taken the steps we have and why we will continue to take steps to maintain the stability and integrity of the game.

So what about the Nearby feature? Well Hanke again has said that the company is ‘actively working on it’.

We value feedback from our community. We have heard feedback about the Nearby feature in the game and are actively working on it. Over the past three and half years many of us in the company have traveled throughout the country and, in fact, around the world to meet, play, and learn from our Ingress user community. And we look forward to doing the same with the Pokémon GO community. Please keep your game ideas and feedback coming. We look forward to getting the game on stable footing so we can begin to work on new features.

The full letter can we read here.

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Daniel Vuckovic
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  • Adam Thompson
    August 5, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    in other news, Niantic tells people that the sky is blue.
    Sadly Niantic had to play Captain Obvious and still many refuse to believe

  • Nicholas Steel
    August 5, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    So the server load dropped 2%, big whoop. There’s no X and Y axis on that chart so for all we know it probably fell 0.02% with each horizontal line representing a shift of 0.01%. Providing useless charts is fun!

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