Niantic Labs, the developer behind Pokemon Go has not been having a great time as of late.
The studio came under fire from the community this week following the game’s latest update which made some unpopular changes to the game, including the removal of the broken Nearby tracking feature (instead of fixing it!!!) as well as blocking third party access to game data used in creating tracking websites.
These changes along with the rationale behind them had not been communicated by the company in any meaningful way, until now. In a recent post made on their blog the studio has outlined their reasons for blocking Pokemon Go tracking websites:
“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.”
This chart is, firstly, vague and devoid of any meaningful numbers but according to Niantic shows the drop-off in requests to its servers. However, without any actual data accompanying the graph we have no way of knowing how significant the drop really is.
The blog post continues:
“In addition to hampering our ability to bring Pokémon GO to new markets, dealing with this issue also has opportunity cost. Developers have to spend time controlling this problem vs. building new features. 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.
Of course, there are also outright hackers out there attempting to break into systems, hijack social media accounts, and even bring down the service. Some of them have posted publicly about their attempts.
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.”
The blog post also mentions that the team at Niantic have “heard feedback about the Nearby feature in the game and are actively working on it.” But does not give any indication as to when it will become available.
You can read the whole post here.