Many Pokémon GO trainers were incredibly frustrated last week when Niantic disabled popular trackers. Some reddit users even commented that they had demanded refunds from Apple and Google Play since the game no longer functioned like it originally did. Niantic recently responded to angry trainers with an explanation behind the recent controversial update.
Why was the update so controversial? When the game was released, one to three footprints were underneath nearby Pokémon. One footprint meant that the Pokémon was very close while three footprints indicated that the Pokémon was farther away. shortly after the game's release, the tracking system stopped working correctly, and three footprints appeared underneath every Pokémon. The most recent update completely eliminated the tracking system and therefore the footprints. Furthermore, third-party services that would track Pokémon and inform users when and for how long a Pokémon would be in an area, were no longer able to work without Niantic’s tracking system.
Niantic noted that there have been “aggressive efforts by third parties to access our servers outside of the Pokémon GO game client and our terms of service.” These third parties were a serious drain to Niantic server resources. Some of the third party services even acted as platforms for bots or encouraged cheating. Niantic remarked, “There is a range of motives here from blatant commercial ventures to enthusiastic fans but the negative impact on game resources is the same.”
Pokémon GO was able to roll out to Latin America once the servers were freed up. Developers will now have time to develop new features instead of trying to fix the massive tracking issue.
Chart shows the drop in server resources consumed once third parties were blocked
Niantic realizes that its recent update will not stop third-party services and hackers from trying to access its servers. The company even indirectly referenced the recent PoodleCorp hack. Niantic concluded, “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.”