Pokemon Go launched three months ago with a fully operational tracking system that players could use to hunt down nearby Pokemon. Of course, this system was intentionally broken about a week later, before being removed entirely, and replaced by an equally broken alternative that has remained in place for months. This seems insane, that the most popular mobile game in the world would leave its key feature disabled for so long. But players had alternatives in the form of third party Pokemon Go maps and scanners.
Since the rise of these services though, it seems that Niantic has developed a blood feud or something. They killed them once before, only to have new ones pop up about a week later. They’ve killed them once more though, with mega-popular websites like FastPokeMap, and others now down for an undetermined amount of time.
Things started looking bad yesterday, with Niantic pushing an update out that would present suspicious players with a reCAPTCHA that they would have to solve to begin encountering Pokemon again. This was a problem for scanners, which managed the accounts automatically, and had no way to solve the reCAPTCHA without user input. After some work, solutions were found, and scans began again for those that had implemented the change.
However, about an hour ago everything stopped once more. Niantic has now forced a security update that requires a complete reverse engineering effort once again. Currently there is no definite answer as to when this will be resolved, if it is at all. The Pokemon Go developer community is hard at work on the problem though, and while many feel that they are enabling cheaters, the fact that tracking is still completely broken within Pokemon Go seems to suggest that they’re just providing what Niantic decided was no longer important.
Pokemon Go has seen its playerbase shrink significantly, leaving mostly just the hardcore players. These are the ones most impacted by the absurd, almost clueless decisions that Niantic keeps making about the game. Killing scanners is just one in a series of them, and we’ll have to wait and see if the community can rectify it, or if Niantic will finally succeed in destroying what used to be a global phenomenon.