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Pokémon Go's creator says Brazil and Latin America launch was delayed by third-party apps

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'Seemingly innocuous sites and apps hurt our ability to deliver the game'

Pokémon Go developer Niantic Labs has once again blamed third-party services like the once-popular Pokévision for continued server problems and slow rollout of its wildly popular app. In a blog post, Niantic said that that it had been delayed in bringing Pokémon Go to Brazil and Latin America due to "aggressive efforts by third parties to access our servers outside of the Pokémon Go game client and our terms of service."

Niantic first suggested that third-party Pokémon Go helper apps were slowing its development earlier this week, in a post justifying why it had blocked services like Pokévision. The developer made that association clearer last night, stating that the "seemingly innocuous sites and apps actually hurt our ability to deliver the game to new and existing players," and claiming that resources freed up by their blockage allowed Niantic to finally get the game to countries waiting for the game. Niantic provided an unlabeled graph that showed the drop in server load since third-party apps were banned.


Pokémon Go has become a social phenomenon, but players have had to deal with regular server problems and app bugs, including disappearing Pokémon and items. Servers seem to have stabilized lately, but so far Niantic has removed more features than it has added to the game — a recent update stripped out the footprint system that was originally designed to find nearby Pokémon. Niantic deemed the feature "confusing," but the confusion primarily came from the fact it didn't work for a number of users.

Niantic says third-party apps enabled cheating

The company also blamed its delayed reaction to bugs and slow introduction of new features on third-party apps. "Developers have to spend time controlling this problem vs. building new features," Niantic boss John Hanke wrote, also noting that "some of the tools used to access servers to scrape data have also served as platforms for bots and cheating," actions that "negatively impact all Trainers."

The Pokémon Company sent out cease and desist letters to at least one developer of a Pokémon Go-related app earlier this week, although it appears the creators of mapping apps have been safe from such action. Third-party services could be a convenient scapegoat for Niantic, which has faced criticism both for its decision to ban services like Pokévision and its troubled development, but Hanke did also acknowledge the server problems and bugs that have plagued the game so far. He stopped short of providing a concrete roadmap for the future, though, saying that his company looked forward to getting the game on "stable footing" before it could work on new features.