Home / Technology / The creator of "Pokemon Go" sues an "association of hackers" who, according to her, helps players cheat at his games

The creator of "Pokemon Go" sues an "association of hackers" who, according to her, helps players cheat at his games



john hanke nianticNiantic's founder and CEO, John Hanke.Reuters / Paul Hanna
  • Niantic, the creator of "Pokémon Go" and the upcoming "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite", filed a lawsuit against Global ++, a "pirate association" that allegedly manufactured and distributed "pirated" versions of its games .
  • These versions, called "hacked" by Niantic and called "Global ++", give players what Niantic says is an unfair advantage – and that infringes Niantic's intellectual property, according to the lawsuit.
  • The lawsuit comes shortly before the official launch of "Harry Potter" by Niantic, in the beta phase in Australia and New Zealand since April.
  • "Niantic tabled this motion on the eve of the US launch of Harry Potter, the culmination of a multi-million dollar multi-year investment by Niantic, whose success is threatened by the illegal behavior of the defendants," Niantic said in a statement. his motion for preliminary injunction.
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"Pokémon Go", Niantic developer 's very popular smartphone game, has had to stay ahead of the cheats since its launch in 2016.

Some players have used a surprisingly sophisticated array of tools to get around the rules and do things like automatically walk in a circle to hatch Pokémon eggs, pinpoint exactly where rare monsters are hiding and even steal their GPS position to make them believe in the game are suddenly on the other side of the world.

Now, Niantic is drawing a line in the sand, as he has sued Global ++ – what he describes as a "hacker association" that allegedly manufactured and distributed "unauthorized derivative versions" of apps, including "Pokémon Go" and "Ingress," another game made by Niantic. These applications, called "PokeGo ++" and "Ingress ++", provide users with an unfair advantage, while simultaneously violating Niantic's intellectual property rights, Niantic explained in the lawsuit.

The defendants are also members of Global ++, including Ryan "ElliotRobot" Hunt, whom Niantic describes as the "leader" of the group, and the "lead developer" of these unauthorized apps, as well as "Alen" iOS n00b " Hundur, which, according to Niantic, helps develop the apps in question and promote them on a YouTube channel. The lawsuit also quotes 20 so-called "Doe defendants" – members of Global ++ who could not be personally identified.

"Among other things, the tricks of the accused undermine the integrity of the game experience of legitimate players, which diminishes the enthusiasm for Niantic games and, in some cases, completely distances players Niantic's games, so the tricks of the defendants undermine Niantic's reputation and goodwill and interfere with Niantic's business, "says the lawsuit.

Niantic is seeking a preliminary injunction in this lawsuit, which would require Global ++ and its members to immediately stop distributing the applications in question, as well as any code reverse engineering work in its games.

The lawsuit further alleges that the Global ++ group earned money by selling "subscriptions" to these allegedly hacked applications: "In matters of information and belief, the defendants sold" subscriptions "to their cheat programs to hundreds of thousands of users, making huge profits" pursuit claims.

Notably, although the complaint refers to Global ++ as "hackers", Niantic does not indicate anywhere in the complaint that the personal information of its users has been compromised by the group. In other words, there seems to be no reason to believe that Global ++ had access to all the player data of the standard versions of each Niantic game.

pokemon go pokegoThis excerpt from the complaint shows the classic Pokémon Go app, compared to PokeGo ++, which would help players cheat by offering them a range of unfair advantages.Screen Capture / Business Insider

The Harry Potter connection

The lawsuit alleges that the organization Global ++ has already developed "Potter ++", a cracked version of "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite" – the next big game of Niantic, which should be launched soon. The game is in the beta test phase in New Zealand and Australia since April.

Niantic and co-developer WB Games are hosting a special event Tuesday at Universal Studios Hollywood, where more details about the game and its launch are expected.

"Niantic tabled this motion on the eve of the US launch of Harry Potter, the culmination of a multi-million dollar multi-year investment by Niantic, whose success is threatened by the illegal behavior of the defendants," Niantic said in a statement. his motion for preliminary injunction.

Global ++ representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent via the organization's Facebook page.


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