Many trainers have been left frustrated since the latest update. Not only was a bug introduced that lowered capture rates and removed XP capture bonuses, but the in-game tracking feature was removed. To make this even worse, they then shut down third-party tracking sites such as the beloved PokeVision. This essentially means that tracking Pokemon has become impossible, which ironically is the whole point of the game.
A number of theories were discussed by players as to the reasoning behind this, however, Niantic has since come forward with a detailed explanation as to why they decided to shut down third party sites. The post read “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.”
In short, the explanation boils down to how third parties were draining Niantic’s server resources, and how this led to a negative knock-on effect on the stability of the game.
The developer also shared a chart which showed how much the load on the servers was eased after blocking third parties on the 3rd of August whose websites work by accessing data on Niantic’s servers.
The resources that were freed up have been partly used to launch Pokemon Go in Latin America and have also in our experience made the game much more stable. We have yet to experience a single game crash since Niantic took these steps to block the third parties.
Some of the tools used to access the servers and scrape data were also used as platforms for bots and cheating which had a negative impact on all trainers. Although it’s impossible to entirely stop cheaters and hackers, this is at least a step in the right direction.
It’s clear Niantic are trying to do what is best for the game, even if it is painful for the players in the short term. However a game developer discussing why it has taken certain steps is a positive sign that they value the community.
Hopefully the incoming bug fixes will be deployed as soon as possible and all the trainers can get back to tracking down those rare Pokemon!