The problems for augmented reality mobile game Pokémon GO never seem to end, with latest ones being featured including PokéStops being taken down for no reason and players who continue to cheat their way into high levels and powerful Pokémon.
Late last month, developer Niantic Labs allowed requests to be sent online to remove certain locations as a PokéStop or Gym. The feature was meant to be for places that should not be swarmed with people, such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Arlington National Cemetery, located in Washington D.C., and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, located in Japan.
The feature, however, is seemingly being abused, with some PokéStops being removed for no reason at all.
There have been reports of a college player who successfully requested for all the PokéStops of a rival school to be taken down, along with rural players complaining about the few PokéStops available in their areas being removed due to complaints by locals as they flock to the locations.
Even South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has called out Niantic Labs for the PokéStops that disappeared from the State Capital building, as the once many PokéStops in the structure encouraged foot traffic.
While it is difficult to determine if Niantic Labs is automatically approving requests for the removal of PokéStops, that seems to be the case. Given the small scale of Niantic Labs and the massive worldwide operations of Pokémon GO, it is likely that the developer automated the process as they simply do not have the time to read through each of the requests and determine the context surrounding them.
On top of that, while removing PokéStops is seemingly easy, it is likely more difficult to request for the addition of PokéStops, which would drastically dampen the experience for Pokémon GO players affected by the disappearing PokéStops.
Cheating Pokémon Trainers
Of course, the disappearing PokéStops will only be a concern for legitimate Pokémon GO players. There is said to still be a good number of cheating Pokémon GO players who are tricking the GPS features of the game to go to any part of the world, collecting massive amounts of XP and powerful Pokémon in the process. With these high-CP Pokémon, these cheaters take over gyms and leave their powerful Pokémon there, making it very difficult for legitimate players to win a gym battle.
Niantic Labs should definitely have an anti-cheating system in place to prevent these cheaters from taking the fun out of the game for other players. While there have been some banned accounts, Niantic Labs has to do more in preventing exploits through a detection system, and it needs to be implemented soon before legitimate players reach the higher levels to easily determine the cheaters.
Will Niantic Labs Respond To These Issues?
Of course, the concern is if the developer would actually take time to respond to these issues, amid its ongoing struggles for server stability to continue the worldwide launch of Pokémon GO and the any other problems that players have been experiencing.