Niantic explains shutdown of 'aggressive' third-party Pokémon Go apps

‘There is a range of motives here from blatant commercial ventures to enthusiastic fans but the negative impact on game resources is the same’
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Pokémon Go developer Niantic has offered some reasoning behind its efforts to take third-party helper apps offline.

Following the phenomenal success of the augmented reality spin-off, a number of websites and apps popped up offering a way to view the availability of specific Pokémon on a map by harnessing the API powering the location-based title.

Niantic subsequently updated its framework, leaving many of the unofficial services inoperable and resulting in a backlash from sections of the Pokémon Go community.

In a blog post, the studio explained that the ‘aggressive’ attempts by third-party devs to utilise its API had resulted in a “negative impact on game resources” and led to the game’s worldwide release being postponed.

We recently rolled out Pokémon Go to Latin America including Brazil,” Niantic wrote. “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. 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 post includes a rudimentary chart showing a significant drop in spatial queries per second following Niantic’s blocking of ‘scrapers’.

“In addition to hampering our ability to bring Pokémon Go to new markets, dealing with this issue also has opportunity cost,” the studio continued. “Developers have to spend time controlling this problem versus building new features. It’s worth noting that some of the tools used to access servers to scrape data have also served as platforms for bots and cheating which negatively impact all Trainers.

“There is a range of motives here from blatant commercial ventures to enthusiastic fans but the negative impact on game resources is the same.”

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