Niantic Explains Why Third-Party Trackers of Pokemon Go Were Closed Off

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When Pokemon Go developer Niantic removed the footprints mechanic from the game, they also closed off their servers from third-party applications that scraped the very same data, allowing players to see Pokemon locations and spawns in real time.

Now, the developer has finally explained why they blocked tracking data of any kind from their game, as well as their servers, in a new blog post.

Third parties accessing the game’s servers to pin-point locations of Pokemon would in term bog down their already crumbling servers. To combat this, Niantic put forth measures to block access to this data.

Here’s the entire relevant portion of the blog post:

Running a product like Pokémon GO at scale is challenging. Those challenges have been amplified by third parties attempting to access our servers in various ways outside of the game itself.

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.

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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Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry.

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