Using the Pokémon Go API? Your access may have been revoked

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/Wachiwit)

Many developers who took advantage of the Pokémon Go API to launch apps which aid the game's vast amount of players will have found their access has now been revoked. 

It seems like everyone is playing Niantic's AR hit title Pokémon Go at the moment – go down to your local park and you'll find people of all demographics wandering around staring at their phones. The scene is almost zombie-like, but when you look past the exterior you witness a game that has broken the stereotype of gamers sat inside staring at their screens and got them outside, socialising, exercising, and proving for the first time what AR can achieve on a grand scale. 

The game passed 50 million downloads faster than any mobile application in the past two years, cinched 75 million downloads as of last week, and its momentum shows little sign of stopping with many features still in the pipeline. A combination of factors helped to achieve this feat – simple gameplay, unique interaction, addictive "collecting" mechanics, and nostalgia for a franchise many know well. 

Sticking with the "Gotta catch 'em all" tagline of the Pokémon franchise – developers of Pokémon Go, Niantic, focused on walking around the real world to discover the game's many virtual characters in-game. To help players have some idea of where to find Pokémon a "nearby" feature launched with the game which had been designed to indicate how close a player is to their 'catch' with up to three icons underneath the outline of a Pokemon character which are supposed to go down in number the closer you are. Problem is, the system was broken and ended up being completely removed in the most recent update. 

Gamers began to rely on services which showed exactly where Pokémon were in their area like Pokevision, Poke Radar, Pokewhere, PokeNotify, and Pokemon Go Map to prevent them from wandering endlessly. Niantic clearly felt this wasn't in the spirit of the game or that players were catching the Pokémon too quickly because cease and desist letters were sent to each of the aforementioned services before their access to its API was revoked. 

The maps operating from cloud-based servers appear to have been Niantic's biggest target, with those who are hosting maps locally seeming to still work for now. The developer of the currently-working 'Compass for Pokemon' on Android says that by next week he wants to have the app overlaying a small compass over the game itself – showing the appetite to continue developing for this popular game is still there. 

Speaking to some of those in Pokémon Go's community, most agreed that apps like those which have been shut down felt like cheating by revealing the Pokémon's exact location. Apps like Compass for Pokemon will provide some direction similar to how Niantic's own 'Nearby' feature was intended to work and feels closer to the intended experience; so whether they'll be spared remains to be seen. 

What are your thoughts on how Niantic is handling the API for Pokémon Go? Let us know in the comments. 

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