Since the game's initial release, savvy players of Pokémon GO have created apps and guides to advise fellow players on how to master the game. Glitches that keep players from actually figuring out how close a Pokémon happens to be (usually identified by the number of footprints appearing under the creature in the 'nearby' menu -- but often frozen on the same three footprints no matter what) have helped spawn map-enabled apps to combat the problem. Apps such as PokéRadar crowdsource information from players on the go, and PokéVision scours the game's algorithm's to pinpoint and predict when Pokémon might show up. Players can even set up alerts for specific Pokémon, causing their phones or browsers to sound off a small alarm when one spawns nearby a player.
These apps are quickly becoming a core part of the Pokémon GO experience, and several more continue to help combat glitches or advise players on how to raise, hatch, and battle their Pokémon. But in the face of their usefulness, the game's developers at Niantic Labs don't seem especially pleased.
In a recent interview with Forbes, Niantic CEO John Hanke expressed a bit of annoyance at the presence of the apps, claiming that they impeded on the player experience:
"Yeah, I don’t really like that. Not a fan. We have priorities right now but they might find in the future that those things may not work. People are only hurting themselves because it takes some fun out of the game. People are hacking around trying to take data out of our system and that’s against our terms of service."
On the flip side, Hanke almost seems impressed by the creative ways players are learning to hatch eggs. After Forbes brought up the fact that a player was using a train set running through his house to hatch eggs, Hanke seemed amused:
"Well that’s kind of cheating, but it’s kind of creative and funny to[o] so I don’t really mind it. He’s only cheating himself."
Hanke's complaint is certainly one with a good foundation from his positon, but it's also a bit puzzling in the face of gaming's long history of hacks and cheat codes. From the olden days of the GameShark (and especially in the case of the Pokémon franchise), services like this have always been cooked up by players looking to catch 'em all. The game's multiple server issues and mountains of glitches that still need fixing have a long way to go, so for now, these apps are simply the best option for Pokémon GO players who don't want to (or, rather, simply can't) wander aimlessly for hours.
Pokemon Go is available now for both iOS and Android mobile devices.