GPS spoofing, drones and Ubers: Pokemon Go fans are determined to get out of walking

  • David Smith
  • July 12, 2016
  • Comments Off on GPS spoofing, drones and Ubers: Pokemon Go fans are determined to get out of walking

Despite the fact that the entire game is built around walking, Pokémon Go players are already coming up with creative ways to get out of doing so. Some of these methods will get you a soft ban from Niantic. Others seem to be working out okay but require some expensive accessories.

Some especially shrewd fans have begun offering their services to Pokémon Go players as chauffeurs, charging players US$30 to drive them to Pokéstops and gyms so that they don’t have to do the walk themselves. While we’re yet to see evidence of this occurring in Australia yet, plenty of ads have appeared on Craigslist in the US to offer such services. Players are, as always, advised to exercise caution when accepting rides from people they don’t know.

Other Pokémon Go players have taken it upon themselves to hack the game itself, modifying it in order to take advantage of what’s called GPS spoofing. GPS spoofing fools the game into thinking that you have travelled to certain places when in reality, your lazy backside never left the couch at all.

Earlier in the week, one Twitch streamer began promoting something called the  Pokémon Go Cheat Tool which had players download a modified version of the game on Android. Due to the game’s slow roll out across the rest of the world, Android owners had been side-loading the game since it appeared overseas, and this modified version allowed players to change their location in order to scavenge new and interesting monsters unavailable in their current area. The mod also let users collect items from Pokéstops en masse and train up their Pokémon without grinding or microtransactions.

Here’s the thing though: If you are using one of these modified games, Niantic are onto you. The developer has been busily identifying players who are GPS spoofing and issues soft bans for their behaviour. Players who have copped the ban so far report that they aren’t able to catch any further Pokémon — the monsters will simply run away the moment the Pokéball is thrown. They also report that they can no longer collect any items from Pokéstops nor can they battle at, or claim, gyms. It seems Niantic takes the old adage “cheaters never prosper” to heart.

Others were far more inventive than simply hacking the game to get what they wanted. One particularly resourceful player strapped their Android phone to a DJI Phantom 4 drone and flew it around their neighbourhood, hunting Pokémon and hatching eggs. The beauty of this MacGyver-level display of engineering is that the drone can easily fly slow enough that the game will still consider it as “walking.” While still technically cheating, we challenge you to come up with faster way of hatching eggs beyond going for a run or a bike ride.

For more on Pokémon Gomake sure you check out our top tips for new and veteran trainers alike and our first impressions of the game so far.


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David Smith

David Smith is the former games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.