Pokemon Go Piraters – Nintendo Tries To Catch Em All
July 20, 2016 (IP Flow) — Following the launch of Nintendo’s Pokemon Go game, it was inevitable that pirated versions would spring up on unauthorized platforms. The app’s success is owed partly to it being rolled out gradually in various countries, commencing with the United States and Australia last week.
The premise is the same as for previous versions of Pokemon except that it is played based on the user’s geo-location allowing for the game to be set in a hybrid virtual Pokemon and real world. The user is able to catch the creatures in real time by physically walking around and using a smartphone to locate them.
The release of the game saw Nintendo’s shares soar, more than doubling their value. This trend is only expected to continue with the imminent release of the game in Japan, the birthplace of Pokemon. Moreover, the free-to-play app has already overtaken Instagram, Tinder, Whatsapp and Snapchat and reportedly has been downloaded on 6.8% of all Android devices. Its popularity is such that an Australian man has quit his job to pursue catching Pokemon fulltime.
As a result of its popularity and fragmented release, pirated versions of the app have emerged and been shared widely on torrent sites in countries where it has not yet been released. Nintendo has been systematically issuing takedown notices to Google to remove the links.
This game of cat and mouse is futile, because as soon as a link is taken down, several more will go up in its place. Torrent Freak reports that it is the most shared game on popular torrent site The Pirate Bay and has elevated APKmirror.com’s daily visitors by a million.
As noted, the game is free-to-play, which means that Nintendo is suffering no direct monetary harm and above all, the share price has not been affected. The rationale behind these take down requests seems to be to maintain the degree of quality that only the original game can ensure. In countries where the game has not been released, little to no Pokemon are available in the territory leading to dissatisfied users and gaming issues such as those faced by Korean gamers.
Piracy and takedown requests aside, as a player of the original Pokemon on the Gameboy in the 90s, the privacy concerns surrounding the game have marred my desire to download the app. Until these issues are resolved, which will probably not happen any time in the near future, due to the value of the data acquired and then sold to anonymous third parties. Thus, for the foreseeable future, I will be cackling at the swarms of people looking for Pokemon in New York City whilst secretly envying them on the inside.