Niantic CEO John Hanke chastises the use of tracking apps/sites like Pokevision for the way they access the back-end data of Pokemon GO without permission.
In just a short amount of time Pokémon GO has grown from an intriguing mobile title to a worldwide phenomenon, and it hasn’t even released in every country yet. But with that success comes a need to be “the best” at the game, or at least find ways to boost one’s success with it. Secondary websites, GPS glitches, and even using Niantic’s first game Ingress have all proven to be effective ways to find Pokémon in Pokémon GO, but not all are approved by the developer.
Speaking with Forbes earlier this week, Niantic CEO John Hanke had a lot to say about the growth of Pokémon GO and its future. Most of Hanke’s quotes echo statements made during previous interviews and the Pokémon GO panel at San Diego Comic-Con, but it was his thoughts on secondary apps that are the most interesting.
Yeah, I don’t really like that. Not a fan.
We have priorities right now but they might find in the future that those things may not work. People are only hurting themselves because it takes some fun out of the game. People are hacking around trying to take data out of our system and that’s against our terms of service.
While Hanke seems to have no problem with players “gaming” the system in order to achieve goals like hatch eggs, he does take issue with websites that report Pokémon spawns. For those who might not know, there are numerous sites around that access Pokémon GO data and then populate a real-time map with Pokémon sightings. The sites even show players how long a Pokémon will be in a specific area, letting them know how quickly they need to trek that way.
Because these sites and apps access Pokémon GO’s back-end data, Hanke sees them as breaking the game’s terms of service agreement. He doesn’t outright chastise the use of these services, but does promise that steps will be taken to eliminate their effectiveness. Moreover, he says that knowing which Pokémon are spawning in a given area takes out some of the fun of Pokémon GO, which is all about random spawns.
Of course, most Pokémon GO players wouldn’t rely on third party sites if not for the nasty three-step glitch that has turned the mobile title into a guessing game. When it works correctly, the Pokémon GO tracker tool should point players in the right direction of a desired Pokémon, but the glitch makes doing so impossible. Instead every Pokémon is reported at three steps away, and no amount of movement changes that.
But, once Niantic does fix the three-step glitch and get the game up and running around the world, we wouldn’t be surprised to see sites like Pokevision lose their utility. However, our only hope is that if Niantic does block these sites they make the tracker tool in Pokemon GO as reliable as possible.
Pokemon GO is out now in most territories for Android and iOS.