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Pokemon GO has been out a few weeks now, and as with any wildly popular digital app there has been its fair share of knock offs popping up as well as tools designed around the augmented reality app intended to help players. One of the more popular types are Pokemon tracking apps, which alert players when certain rare Pokemon pop up near them or display maps where harder to find ones have been spotted. One of the more popular ones, PokeVision, will tell player the exact area where the Pokemon pop up, as well as a timer for when they will disappear. Many avid players are using the app now to help them finish their PokeDex, but Niantic CEO John Hanke says he isn’t a fan of the new tools in an interview with Forbes.

Tapping on the Tracker will show you all of the Pokémon nearby. You can also focus on one particular Pokémon.

The in-game tracker has shown Pokemon at perpetually three steps away for weeks.

Hanke talked a bit about the variety of ways people have found to cheat the system, from more inventive ways to hatch eggs that don’t require walking to actually using actual cheats. The CEO says that apps like PokeRadar or PokeVision “take the fun out of the game” and that in creating those apps people are trying to take data from the game itself, which violates the Pokemon GO Terms of Service. He also hinted that in the future, apps like that may no longer be allowed, telling Forbes “We have priorities right now but they might find in the future that those things may not work”. 

For some players currently, the apps help supplement the “Nearby Tracking” feature in Pokemon GO, which supposedly tells players which Pokemon are close and how far they are. However, the in-game tracking system has been broken for a while now, making every Pokemon display three steps and show up in seemingly random order, rather than based on which is actually closest. At Comic-Con Niantic said they were away of the issue, but are trying to focus their priorities on stabilizing the servers as the game is released in more countries. While the in-game feature is not as precise as the apps, it at least offered players a more direct aim rather than simply wandering around and hoping for the best. Without it, players turned to the third party apps. 

Hanke implies that Niantic plan to crack down on cheating, especially as new features are released that increase competitive play like one-on-one battles. For now enjoy those apps while you can. 

The Niantic CEO talked about other aspects of the game in the Forbes interview, such as the frantic need to upgrade and fix server issues and the barrage of requests from business owners to get PokeStops put in near them to draw business. With over 9.5 million users in the United States alone logging in daily, Niantic has a lot more to work out before they start integrating new features or actively preventing cheating and third parties. 

More About This Game

Kindra Pring

Staff Writer

Teacher’s aid by day. Gamer by night. And by day, because I play my DS on my lunch break. Ask me about how bad my aim is.

  • Jasper Hursley

    Too big of a project for them with too few resources. That’s been apparent from launch. Also, if they don’t want people using those radars and tools, maybe they should focus on fixing the tracker and making it reliable. They should focus on fixing the product before releasing it broken to other countries.

  • Dom The Elegy

    Well if they hate third party programs so much maybe they should finish the damn game and make them obsolete instead of whining and swinging the ban hammer.

  • Travis

    Maybe when they fix their three step problem I’ll give a fuck what they think about third party services DOING THEIR JOB FOR THEM!

  • If their users are getting more fun out of the game by using the tools then how is it “sucking the fun out”? Pokemon GO isn’t exactly eSports material to begin with.

  • Jonbo298

    The fact that Nearby is effectively useless has “taken the fun out of the game” for me also, Niantic. I don’t particularly enjoy using these map services but there’s no other option while you’re doing press tours and not showing any sense of urgency.

  • spazzdla

    Ahh first comment, perfect.

  • Kayoss860

    Niantics should be thankful for Pokevision and Pokeradar. If these 3rd apps are not available, imagine the backlash they would get from the gamers. Its because of these 3rd party apps that Niantics still able to focus on game stability.

  • Dave

    This. If they shut down pokeradar before fixing a primary part of the fucking game, I’d uninstall and be done with it for good.

  • It wouldn’t make them obsolete, though. I’ve been going on road trips with a friend. When we try to figure out where to go, stuff like Pokévision is the best tool to use to determine which Pokémon spawn in an area and how many show up. Even if they fixed the three-step thing it doesn’t provide a solution for this. I don’t wanna drive 30 miles only to find the exact same shit that’s in my backyard.

  • Γεώργιος Αρχαιοκαπηλίδης

    Not everyone uses these apps you know. And it won’t stop people from playing Pokemon GO in case they ban these apps.

  • Γεώργιος Αρχαιοκαπηλίδης

    It takes away the joy of exploration, of the surprise.

  • ImJust1Joe .

    Then fix your game, Niantic.

  • NL37

    I do prefer Pokevision to the 1,2,3 steps.
    Like in the handhelds Pokedex, find “pidgey” in route 44.
    I would rather that than trying to figure out which way to walk.
    Still walking to Pokestops and hatching eggs, mind.

  • Peter Sammis

    as much as I appreciate the sentiment behind your statement, you are but 1 in 10’s of millions of players world wide. Just like with most major corporations (including the one I work for), they could not care less about a single customer.

    You are statistically insignificant.

    It would take literally MILLIONS of players quitting at the exact same time all over the world to make them even take notice and even then, due to the drop in traffic, that move would stabilize the servers enough for the rest of the players who don’t quit, giving them more up time and in the long run, probably make Niantic more money.

  • Michael Filarowski

    This is my biggest issue with gthe pokemap inside the game. you cannot tell if there is anything where you are going. It also doesnt show the same pokemon for different people, so you miss out on tons of chances. They need to have a map similar to pokevision and each area have at least some indications what could spawn there. something to keep it fun, not irritating.

  • Michael Filarowski

    and then there is the issue of it despawning before you get there. kind of pissses me off to try to get there and lose it before i can try to catch it.

  • hariman

    The step based tracking was the most fun aspect of Pokemon Go, so I hope it gets fixed, or a comparable system gets added instead.
    I’ll still play, but I want that fun of tracking down and catching a desired pokemon. Like dratini, or growlithe, or pikachu.

  • NL37

    oh yeah, that is an issue. Think they’l fix it?

  • GotNews4Ya

    I am guessing the uninstall is strong with you then.. because not only did they get rid of 3rd party.. They got RID OF THEIR OWN FINDING SYSTEM.. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?! Who The Fuck thought that was the best idea for their game? Was the guy tripping on acid? Did he think he actually see’s pokemon while he walks around, so he don’t need the footsteps? What a Fucking way to kill a popular game..

  • GotNews4Ya

    Yeah well.. millions of people are complaining all over the world right now.. So statistically.. your comment sucked balls.