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Niantic settles trespassing class-action and promises to implement new reporting system

Pokémon Go developer Niantic has promised to implement a new reporting system to fight the trespassing violations of its players trying to catch Pokémon on private property. 

As reported by The Register (thanks, GI.biz), the pledge comes after the augmented-reality developers settled a 2016 class-action lawsuit from Californian homeowners unhappy that the game encourages people to trespass. Though not accepting blame, Niantic has responded with a $4m settlement, “all of which will go to the lawyers”, according to The Register. The 12 plaintiffs themselves receive just $1000 each.

As well as paying legal fees, Niantic must also implement an online reporting system to enable unhappy homeowners to lodge trespassing complaints. The company has promised to respond to 95 per cent of trespassing complaints within 15 days of receiving them, avoid placing Pokestops close to single-family houses, and delete any existing ones. It will also add warnings to instruct players to be aware of their surroundings and “follow the hours of public parks”.

In other Niantic news, Pokémon Go developer Niantic recently acquired augmented reality developer Sensible Object. The acquisition, which was completed for an undisclosed sum, will see the studio rebranded as Niantic London. The company – perhaps best known for its tabletop game Beasts of Balance – will form the core of Niantic’s new HQ, along with staff from Matrix Mill, a spin-out company from UCL that specialises in “applying artificial intelligence and machine vision research to solve industry problems” which was acquired by Niantic last year.

In a bid to suppress a number of “cheat” apps based upon of its most popular games, we recently reported that Niantic has reportedly filed an injunction against the hacker group responsible for their distribution.

The lawsuit – which specifically names Ryan “ElliotRobot” Hunt, Alen “iOS n00b” Hundur, and lists 20 other unknown members of Global++ – accuses the group of being an “association of hackers” that makes “unauthorised derivative versions” of its augmented reality games.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond.

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