Niantic Is Suing "Hackers" For Distributing Cheating Tools

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You've probably heard the old saying, cheaters never prosper. While this isn't necessarily true as there have likely been many cheaters who have, the meaning behind it is that eventually those who do cheat may end up getting caught and the ramifications aren't going to work out in their favor. The bottom line – cheating ruins the experience for anyone enjoying a game legitimately.

Now, Niantic is suing a group of players of its popular augmented reality game for cheating and for helping others do the same thing by distributing hacked versions of Pokémon GO in addition to its two other games, which includes Ingress and the yet unreleased Harry Potter: Wizards Unite which is due for a launch later this year.

While Pokémon GO and Ingress are already available for installation from the Play Store, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is still in a closed beta, which presents a problem for Niantic now that it feels the distribution of the hacked version was infringing on its intellectual property rights.

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More to the point, all three hacked versions of these games are alleged to be helping players who use them "gain an unfair advantage" over other players according to Niantic in its lawsuit that was filed on June 14.

The lawsuit doesn't just focus on the cheating, it also alleges that the group, referred to as a group of hackers by Niantic and officially called Global++, has profited from the unauthorized distribution of three modified games by selling subscriptions to users that would help them cheat.

Is suing this group going to change things overall? No, likely not. It might certainly help deter anyone that's part of Global++ from continuing to distribute allegedly hacked versions of these games, which Niantic is requesting that the group do as part of the suit, but it in the long run people that want to go so far as to find a way to cheat will do so as this sort of thing is nothing new.

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With that said it shouldn't come as a surprise that Niantic is filing a suit over the matter as it's merely trying to protect its intellectual property rights, and it probably hopes that it will to some degree stop players from wanting to cheat using tools and methods that the modified games were allowing.

If nothing else, Niantic's decision to drag the cheating into the light by way of legal means makes a statement that it doesn't take cheating lightly.

Where some game companies would simply ban players if they were found to be cheating Niantic is taking things a step further with the lawsuit, even though the lawsuit isn't entirely about specific players cheating, and is in fact more about the creation of tools that help players cheat and distributing those tools through modified versions of Niantic's copyrighted games.

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A majority of players should be able to empathize with Niantic on this one. Games are meant to be fun, and for many they stop being fun the moment that other players start using any means necessary to gain the upper hand over anyone else, even if those means are against the terms of service.