Some market observers are saying that Pokemon GO has already reached its highest peak, at least in the US, and is at a plateau or, worse, already on downhill trend. That, however, might be the least of Niantic Labs’ problems. It might actually have a riot and mass exodus on its hands. If, as the speculation goes, it is flexing its legal muscles to not so quietly shut down apps and services that assist players in tracking down and hunting Pokemon in the wild.
Apps like Pokevision, Poke Radar, and a whole host of other Pokenames have sprouted up like wild mushrooms on the face of the Pokemon GO world. These range from simple crowdsourced apps to elaborate hacks that show players which Pokemon are where, cutting down the time to find the ones they are hunting form.
But no matter what technique is used, Niantic CEO John Hanke labels them all as cheats and warned that players might find that those stop working in the future. Well, that, dark for some, future is apparently now, and popular apps like Pokevision have been sending ominous messages that all amount to one thing: they are shutting down.
Unlike in most cases of cheating in games, the situation with Pokemon GO is a tad murky and gray. Disregarding apps and hacks that truly do cheat, not to mention “extort” real world money from players, some of these tools try to operate in good faith and with a sincere desire to help the Pokemon GO community. On the other hand, as Hanke suggests, these tools take away some of the core elements of the game, like discovery and exploration.
Complicating the matter is that these services sometimes also address things that are broken in the game. Trackers, for example, would lose half their appeal if the official in-game tracking system wasn’t bug ridden. As is the case sometimes, outsiders like programmers and hackers try to fill in the need that official developers have a hard time catching up with.
Of course, none of the sites going down are pointing the finger at Niantic, but players are putting two and two together. Or jumping to conclusions. Now that the euphoria over the initial outbreak of Pokemon GO is over, people are starting to ask the hard questions about the game, putting Niantic’s reputation at an even higher risk than when they first launched the game.