Third-party tracking websites like Pokevision are exceedingly popular with Pokemon GO players due to their ability to reveal the geo location of pokemon in real time. Over the past week, the game’s creator Niantic has been systematically shutting down these applications with little to no explanation to outraged fans. In the face of mounting criticism, the company has finally released a statement explaining why these tracking sites are being blocked. Turns out it’s all Brazil’s fault.
If you’ve been wondering why Pokevision and the like suddenly stopped working, Niantic has finally released a statement explaining the situation on its blog. In short, the tracking websites were putting too much of a strain on the company’s servers. Here is the relevant extract from the blog post:
As some of you may have noticed we recently rolled out Pokemon 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 Pokemon 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. Freeing those [server] resources allowed us to proceed with the Latin America launch.
…In addition to hampering our ability to bring Pokemon 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.
In the same blog post, Niantic promised customers it was “actively working” on a solution to the game’s currently broken Nearby feature — which is the chief reason players were using tracking tools in the first place. You can read the full blog post here.