Niantic Explains Why They Had To Shut Down Third-Party Pokemon Tracking Sites

When Pokemon Go was released, one of the best features was the Pokemon tracker — a visual indicator of which Pokemon are near you and roughly how far away they are. Except for one little problem. The whole functionality of the tracking system broke almost immediately.

That led to a bunch of third party websites and apps springing up, revealing where the Pokemon were spawning. And then Niantic shut them down too, some via Cease and Desist letters and others turned off voluntarily. This created a lot of controversy in the Pokemon Go community, since the game is supposed to be about hunting for Pokemon, but now there is no way to actually do that.

Niantic, who has a poor reputation for communicating with the people who play their games, actually released a long blog post explaining their decision to shut down third-party trackers, along with some updates about improving the game in the near future.

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. 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.

Simply put, all those third-party trackers were bogging down the servers with requests for info on Pokemon spawns, making it harder for the game to even run properly. Adding in official releases in more countries meant that there just wasn’t enough server capacity to go around.

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.

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 game still has its flaws, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t enjoying it. We are definitely looking forward to increased functionality and features, and it’s nice to get official word that those things are being worked on.

Devon Taylor (@DevonTaylor113)

Devon Taylor (@DevonTaylor113)

Devon has been writing about random things online since 2013. His favorite video game is Rocket League, his favorite TV show is The Sopranos, and he hated the last season of Game of Thrones. Follow him @DevonTaylor113.