Pokémon Go players have noticed a number of changes to the game this weekend, thanks to some tweaks that Niantic, the game's developer, is making. Chief among the changes is the removal of the broken tracking feature that Niantic had been using to let players know monsters were nearby. Instead of fixing the feature, Niantic has simply removed it so it's very difficult to identify exactly where pokémon are "nearby" you.
That feature removal has angered and upset Pokémon Go fans, alongside a combination of some other changes that have crippled third-party services like PokéVision for mapping out where pokémon exist. PokéVision says it is "respecting Niantic and Nintendo's wishes," after Niantic CEO John Hanke revealed in a recent interview that he wasn't happy with third-party map apps. However, Niantic has actually altered its Pokémon Go servers at the weekend, changing the way third-party apps can access data about pokémon.
Niantic has crippled third-party apps with API changes
Find 'Em All, a Windows 10 app for tracking pokémon, has been affected by these changes, along with PokéVision, Poké Radar, and many other apps. Find 'Em All creator Daniel Gary tells The Verge that Niantic has started rate limiting its API that developers use to access Pokémon Go. Niantic has also reduced the number of pokémon that can be returned when you query a location. That's made things a lot harder for developers, but Gary says he's working on a workaround for his own app that he hopes will keep his mapping service running.
It's not clear whether PokéVision will return given its huge popularity, but it's likely we're about to witness a game of cat-and-mouse between developers and Niantic over existing and future API changes. Niantic is still grappling with its own server problems and game issues, but Niantic clearly isn't a fan of these third-party services hammering their servers and changing the way Pokémon Go is played. It might seem like a free game to many, but with in-app purchases generating significant revenue for Niantic, a lot of money rests on the ability of the Pokémon Go makers controlling their own game.