Car Culture

Man claiming to run Pokemon Go on Tesla Model S is faking it

There are just too many red flags for this to be real.

Josh Miller
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Our video producer took one look at this and immediately called it a fake. He then broke the GIF down frame by frame to show that the man's finger magically disappears at one point.

Pink Java

It's getting harder and harder to tell when things on the internet are fake. Case in point: this man's claim to run Pokemon Go inside his Tesla Model S.

Electrek pointed me to Pink Java, one of whose editors claimed to get Pokemon Go running on a Tesla Model S using just a laptop and an Ethernet cable. There's a GIF of him capturing a Rattata, with the augmented-reality game relying on the Tesla's backup camera for an image. Considering others have managed to get Pokemon Go working on desktop computers, that part passes Andrew Krok's Greatly Exaggerated Cynicism Test thus far.

Then it starts falling apart. One of Electrek's readers pointed out that the screen vibrates when the hacker swipes to capture the Rattata. A swipe on a screen shouldn't cause a 2-plus-ton car to shake. On Pink Java's site, there's no link to a YouTube video, or any supporting evidence beyond pictures and that one GIF.

A quick trip to Pink Java's front page shows that this story is wildly different than the site's usual complement of stories, as well. In all likelihood, it's a hoax meant to drive traffic to the site. It's got everything SEO managers dream of in 2016 -- a Tesla doing something it shouldn't, and Pokemon Go. Instant traffic gold.

But the real kicker comes from a professional. According to my Carfection colleague Drew Stearne, it's likely prerecorded footage overlaid onto the Tesla's screen (to preserve reflections). He says the traveling mattes on the man's hand are visible, which would make this a decent, but not entirely convincing fake. In fact, he broke the whole GIF down by frame, and found one instance where part of his finger disappears. "I know a key when I see one," he said in our Slack chat.

It's good to have some talented video staff on hand, both to create insane video -- and debunk claims like this.

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