Over the last week, Niantic has been chewed out by the public for not being open enough about what was going on with Pokemon GO. But now, it seems like they're finally turning all of that around. Not only have they been posting more on social media, today Niantic also blogged about one of the more controversial topics surrounding Pokemon GO: Tracking websites.
The rumour for a long while had been that tracking websites such as Pokevision put too much of a strain on Niantic's servers, and today, Niantic confirmed that in straightforward terms:
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. 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.
A vague chart, which is not ideal, but still. It's something.
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.
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.
Bravo, Niantic. This is exactly the sort of communication that players were hoping for. Yes, the game might still be in an iffy state thanks to a variety of bugs, but just having a sense of what is actually going on goes a long way toward quelling anger and frustration.
Niantic even assured people that they have "heard feedback about the Nearby feature in the game and are actively working on it." Excellent! Here's hoping whatever they come up with next is more usable than the footsteps system.