Tweaked versions of ‘Pokémon Go’ no longer available after Niantic sues

Participants at Pokemon GO Fest 2019 navigate Chicago's Grant Park while searching for characters as they play Pokemon GO on their phones Thursday, June 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

A group that developed a tweaked version of augmented reality monster catching game Pokémon Go has shut down its services after being sued by Niantic. 

Business Insider reported that game maker Niantic’s suit calls the group, Global++, an “association of hackers” that makes unauthorised versions of its games Pokémon Go and Ingress called PokeGo++ and Ingress++

Niantic’s issue with the ++ version of the games is that it supposedly gives users an unfair advantage and infringes on Niantic’s intellectual property rights.

In the case of Pokémon Go, the ++ version lets users spoof their GPS location, allowing them to move in the game without travelling in real life. Pokémon Go is a location-based game which encourages users to walk-about to catch monsters, interact with game elements and earn rewards.  

Following the lawsuit, the Global++ official website has been taken down, its Discord servers deleted, and its social media presence – like its Twitter account – scrubbed.  

PokemonGoHub screencapped a message from its Discord announcing the end of its service: “It is with great sadness that we will be shutting down indefinitely in compliance with our legal obligations. It has been a fun ride with the entire community and we have made some unbelievable memories. We will hold close to our heart all of the people that we were able to introduce Pokémon to that for various reasons could not play the game. Take care all, Global++.”

Niantic is seeking a preliminary injunction in this lawsuit, which requires Global++ to immediately stop distributing the apps and to stop any work on reverse engineering the code to its games. In application, Niantic refers to the apps as “hacked”, and says that Global++ refers to them as “tweaks”. 

It also claims the Global++ is profiting from the service by selling subscriptions. 

The move also appears to protect Niantic’s projects moving forward, as the suit claims Global++ has developed Potter++, a cracked version of Niantic’s next game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Representatives for Global++ did not reply to Business Insider on the lawsuit.


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