Pokemon GO Has Created Its Own Micro-Economy

To say that Pokemon GO has taken the world by storm in an unprecedented way would even be a slight understatement at this point. With that being the case, it’s only natural, as with almost any other online game, that in-game items or accounts, or even services, may end up being sold to the highest bidder despite this being a clear violation of the app’s terms of service. It would seem, however, that Pokemon GO has taken it to another level entirely. Not only are people quitting their jobs for the game or making careers out of playing, but people are advertising all manner of gear and services online.

While it’s not surprising to see a game this big spawning branded caps and wristbands and such, paying a few pounds to have somebody in another country log into your account and walk around London for an hour or paying a bit less to have a specific rare Pokemon caught for you are a bit more out there. Those kinds of things, however, are exactly what’s popping up on eBay. Loaded-up accounts bearing high stats and lots of items and rare Pokemon are going for the equivalent of a week’s pay for some lower-income jobs. The sheer amount of such postings is overwhelming, to the point it’s plenty safe to say that the game has created its own black-market micro-economy. Skilled players are creating mole accounts in droves to sell to lesser players. Though it implies missing out on the game itself and defeating the point of playing, depending on who you ask, it seems that many are willing to shell out for these sorts of services.

Both buyers and sellers in this new economy are playing a very dangerous game. Although the listings themselves and seeing an account jump devices are about the only indicators of this behavior, the fact remains that it is blatantly against the terms of use for Pokemon GO. If Niantic or Nintendo were to find a user buying or selling anything in-game, such as accounts or rare Pokemon catch guarantees, it would be a ban for not only the seller, but for any buyers that get found out, as well. While the terms of service make it clear that this behavior is not allowed, a punishment is not prescribed. Most players caught cheating thus far, through means like GPS spoofing, have faced soft bans that averaged a few hours. Punishments for this sort of behavior, which borders on legally troublesome depending on applicable laws in the countries of the buyer and seller, may be more extreme, but Niantic has yet to drop the hammer.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]