Pokemon Go CEO addresses server struggles and player angst

John Hanke, CEO of Pokemon Go developer Niantic, says that third-party apps were interfering with a global rollout of the game.

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister
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Early on, it seemed like server outages would kill Pokemon Go. Then, it was the backlash when Pokemon Go developer Niantic changed the game and blocked helpful third-party apps without telling a soul.

Now, Niantic is finally communicating with players. The message? In order to keep those servers running, the nonessential apps have to go.

In a blog post, Niantic Labs founder and CEO John Hanke writes that the company's recent efforts to launch the game in Latin America were stifled by all the third-party apps, bots and scrapers accessing the Pokemon Go API.


These "seemingly innocuous sites and apps actually hurt our ability to deliver the game to new and existing players," writes Hanke. He provides this unlabeled (!) chart as evidence that restricting access helped reduce the server load:

"There is a range of motives here from blatant commercial ventures to enthusiastic fans but the negative impact on game resources is the same," Hanke writes.

The CEO also has a message for those still angry there's no easy way to track down Pokemon in the wild. "We have heard feedback about the Nearby feature in the game and are actively working on it," says Hanke.

Keeping the servers running comes first.

One thing that might change about Pokemon Go a little bit sooner, though: how hard it is to catch those damn Pidgeys now. Niantic now says that was just a bug, and the company's reportedly working on it.

You can read Hanke's full blog post here.