Category Archives: Pokémon Go

Niantic to punish Pokémon Go cheaters with mark of shame

Enlarge / Good grief. (credit: PopUpTee.com)

It has been just a month since Pokémon Go players began noticing that Niantic had started "shadowbanning" accounts that use third-party trackers and bot software, limiting them so they only see common Pokémon. Now, the company is going further to ensure ill-gotten beasts are publicly identified as such and don't negatively impact the multiplayer experience.

In a post from its verified Reddit account, Niantic Support gave an update regarding "Pokémon caught using third-party services that circumvent normal gameplay":

With the announcement of Raid Battles and the new battle features, we are staying true on our commitment to ensuring that Pokémon Go continues to be a fun and fair experience for all Trainers. Starting today, Pokémon caught using third-party services that circumvent normal gameplay will appear marked with a slash in the inventory and may not behave as expected. We are humbled by the excitement for all the new features we announced yesterday. This is one small part of our continued commitment to maintaining the integrity of our community and delivering an amazing Pokémon Go experience.

What Niantic means by Pokémon "not behav[ing] as expected" is unclear, but the wording suggests these beasts may not be effective in the game's recently announced raid battle and expanded gym features. That coming overhaul will allow six unique Pokémon to be assigned to each individual gym, and it will let players team up for cooperative raids against ultra-powerful Pokémon. We're guessing Pokémon marked with a slash won't be able to fight for those coveted gym slots, at the very least.

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Crunch Report | Pokemon Go “Big Summer Update”

Pokemon Go has a big summer update, Vice Media raises $450 million, the FTC wants to block the FanDuel-DraftKings merger and Blue Apron is looking to raise $586 million in its IPO. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

Pokémon Go is getting cooperative play and a new gym system. Here’s how they work

 Just about a year ago, Pokémon Go came out of nowhere and took over the world. If you lived in any sort of big city, you probably couldn’t go a block without seeing a Go player sprint by, staring at their phone all the while. The hype inevitably died down, of course. Some people caught everything there was to catch; others stopped as the summer nights turned chilly; others simply got… Read More

What do E3 attendees think of mobile gaming?

 The smartphone has changed the gaming industry landscape dramatically. As our pocket computers advance, so too does the possibility of fully satisfying mobilegaming experiences. Companies like Nintendo are blurring the lines between portable and console/PC gaming with the Switch. At the same time, big studios have largely moved away from attempts to integrate mobile content into the home… Read More

Nostalgia still marks the way forward for Nintendo

 This year’s E3 was another perfect example. There was no new hardware for the show and a number of the company’s biggest games were previously announced. Nintendo’s online presser rolled out trailer after trailer of familiar faces, and yet the showing was widely regarded as a triumph for the gaming giant by the online community and many in the press. The big takeaway? Give… Read More

Augmented reality lawsuit provides augmented view of 1st Amendment

A First Amendment issue is brewing in federal court over a local Wisconsin ordinance—the nation's first—that requires publishers of augmented reality mobile games like Pokemon Go and Texas Rope 'Em to get a special use permit if their apps require gamers to play in Milwaukee County parks.

A Southern California company called Candy Lab, the maker of Texas Rope 'Em, is suing the county over the requirement that was adopted in February in the wake of the Pokemon Go craze that resulted in a Milwaukee county park being overrun by a deluge of players. The permit, which costs as much as $1,000, requires estimates for crowd size and the event dates and times. It also calls for plans about garbage collection, bathroom use, on-site security, and medical services.

Candy Lab says it's impossible to comply with the permit for it fledgling app. Candy Lab can neither realistically answer the permit's questions (PDF) nor afford to pay for the other requirements like on-site security when users of its platform hunt for a winning hand in its augmented reality version of Texas Hold 'Em. Like Niantic's Pokemon Go, Candy Lab's app is built to be played in designated parks and other areas. These types of mobile apps provide users with an augmented and interactive view of the park.

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Revenue, I choose you! The Pokémon Company’s profits jump by 2,500 percent

 It’s been a banner year for The Pokémon Company: Pokémon GO was a global phenomenon and the latest full-on Pokégame for the 3DS sold very well indeed. One would expect the company to be doing well financially — perhaps even doubling or tripling last year’s profits. Well, apparently it quinvigintupled them, which is to say multiplied by 25 times. (I had to look it up.) Read More

Pokémon Go reveals sponsors like McDonald’s pay it up to $0.50 per visitor

 Pokémon Go-maker Niantic says it has driven 500 million visitors to sponsored locations like McDonald’s Japan where gamers can score a special virtual good. But it never said how much those sponsors paid per visitor delivered by the game. But in an interview published yesterday by Brazil’s Globo newspaper, Niantic VP of strategic partnerships Mathieu de Fayet said (translated)… Read More

Pokémon Go hackers getting put in Pidgey-filled purgatory

Enlarge / If Niantic detects your bot account, common Pokémon like this Pidgey are all you'll be able to see in the game.

Pokémon Go developer Niantic appears to have opened up a new front in its ongoing war against third-party tools and trackers that use bot accounts to reveal where in-game Pokémon are hiding in the real world. Players are reporting that detected and flagged accounts are being limited so they can only see common Pokémon—not the most coveted, rarer beasts.

Pokemon Go Hub reported on the new security measure earlier this week, showing screenshots where two different accounts in the same exact location showed different Pokémon on their "nearby" lists. The site estimates that tens to hundreds of thousands of accounts may have been blinded in this way, based on reports from inside the Pokémon Go hacking community.

That said, reports suggest the enforcement has been somewhat sporadic, with "some botters claiming zero accounts blinded, and others reporting complete annihilation of their account farm," according to Pokémon Go Hub. And while bot-makers can create free new accounts to try to get around the blinding, The Silph Road subreddit reports that many new accounts seem to be blinded quickly and automatically, signaling a change from the more manual ban waves Niantic has issued to bot makers periodically. Some suspect Niantic is making use of machine-learning algorithms to detect bots quickly while limiting false-positive punishments on legitimate accounts (the company was publicly searching for a Machine Learning Engineer last year).

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