This Is Why Niantic Blocked Pokemon Mapping Apps

Pokemon GO has become incredibly popular since its release. And cheats and exploits are often something that comes along with games that reach such a high level of popularity. Shortly after its release, plenty of third-party apps flooded the market, offering assistance in ways that were not officially supported by Niantic’s terms of use. Primarily, these were Pokemon mapping apps. The purpose of these was to show the locations of nearby Pokemon on a map in real-time, so the player wouldn’t have to rely solely on the in-game interface, which provides only a general idea of their distance. The game has been recently updated, however, to block third-party apps from accessing Pokemon GO’s in-game data.

Why did the company decide to block third party apps? According to their Facebook page, this was done in an effort to maintain quality in the game.  “We have limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokémon GO to users around the world.” The Pokemon GO team went on to explain why the 3-step display was removed. “We have removed the ‘3-step’ display in order to improve upon the underlying design. The original feature, although enjoyed by many, was also confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals. We will keep you posted as we strive to improve this feature.” They did not give any indication as to whether it would return after a redesign, or of some other system would be implemented to help locate nearby Pokemon. Although the existing third-party apps for Pokemon GO have been disabled, that hasn’t stopped new ones, like Smart Poke V2, which is functional even after the game update, from popping up in the Google Play Store. But it does show that the developers are taking proactive efforts to get rid of software that violates their terms of use and interferes with the game.

Although the removal of the 3-step display and blocking of third-party apps may come as a disappointment to some, the update to version 0.31 was not all bad. It did bring a number of tweaks and improvements, including the ability to customize your character, which was previously only possible when setting up the game for the first time. The game is still new, so it's no surprise that there are some issues that need to be addressed on the road to perfection, but it’s good to see that it is being updated regularly, and will likely only improve over time.

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About the Author
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Sam Nimmo

Staff Writer
I am a technology enthusiast and gamer living in Charlotte, NC. In my spare time, I help people with tech related problems and help them learn how to use their devices. Although I feel comfortable with most devices and operating systems, Android is my specialty. I'm the kind of person that has to have every new gadget as soon as it's released, for better or worse.
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