History of spoofing over the last 12 months


Written by JoshHack, a GO Hub forum member | source linkBe aware that GO Hub’s official stance is strictly against spoofing and botting — we don’t promote cheating or ToS infringement in any shape or form. All opinions expressed here are author’s opinions, not official GO Hub stance. We decided to publish this article as it tells a very interesting story and we haven’t came across anything similar on the Internet.The purpose of this article is merely to express the opinions and truth, but also recap about the entire history of Pokémon GO spoofing / botting community. To my knowledge, no similar article was written anywhere to date.

I will talk about the pro’s and cons, it’s origins and if it is as big as a problem as many make it out to be. I will try to be as unbiased as I can, to give you the full run-down of everything that has happened over the last year.

Game release and the beginning of cheating

On July 6th, 2016 a game was released and it sparked a worldwide obsession making over 100 million people run outside for a game. That game was Pokémon Go.

In order to get the game out on time some short-cuts may have been taken by Niantic, the developers of both Pokémon Go and Ingress (more on Ingress later).

These short-cuts and the fact that Niantic wasn’t ready for such huge numbers resulted in numerous issues with servers and a general lack of content. Ultimately, this did push many players away.

TuTu App (click for large version)

Soon after launch, an app downloading platform called TuTuApp (known for releasing hacked versions of games) saw a niche in the game. The game Wasn’t built to stop any 3rd party software from coming online and altering things in the game. This meant that when software like this was released, it became a very popular tool to use.

Youtube Clickbait and the rise of cheating

After roughly 48 hours of the game’s release, a group of 4 YouTubers realised they could make a lot of money by using these apps and using titles like “OMG! SUPER RARE SHINY EGG HATCH POKEMON GO!” and “NEW BEST POKÉMON GO HACK!”

This tactic did work remarkably well, raking in millions of views for people who used it.

Even regular, legitimate, Pokémon Go YouTubers like Ali-A and Mystic7 did a bit of clickbaiting in order to get some views, however, they didn’t use the app, just the images that other app users posted. In all fairness, they were just “normal businessmen” trying to earn some views.

Thumbnail of Ali-A video titled “Pokemon GO – LEGENDARIES FROM 100km EGGS? (ARE THEY REAL)”

The main issue wasn’t really the clickbaiting (though it was still a problem), the problem was the promotion of spoofing and botting.

Youtubers used bots to spawn Pokémon like MewTwo and other tools to show and appeal to their fanbase. In addition, they taught their viewers how to gain access to the apps and the art of utilising them.

Ultimately, this led to a new problem: spoofers and Gym takeover.

Spoofers and Gym Takeover

After about a week of playing, people realised how valuable PokeCoins (the in-game currency) were in order to advance. However, the only way to procure them in the game was through the gym system.

For every 21 hours your Pokémon was in a gym you would get 500 stardust and 10 PokeCoins. This would go up until you had 10 Pokémon in gyms, for which you would get 5000 stardust and 100 PokeCoins every 21 hours.

This caused the main problem people had with Spoofers, kicking their Pokémon out of gyms and putting up their own instead. They could quickly get back to a gym to reclaim it if taken from them.

The following video clearly illustrates how Spoofers operated during that era:

Botters used similar things, but their software would automatically fill the gyms up again. So, if one of their gyms got taken it would be theirs again in about one minute.

They used techniques like the BubbleStrat to make this go quicker. The Strategy would involve putting exceptionally weak Pokémon in a gym and using weaker ones to take them down. This would maximise prestige gains and get a gym to level 10 in under 10 minutes (the BubbleStrat has been since removed from the game).

All of this pushed many players away from the gym system all together, as high level snipers were too strong to stop forever.

Sniping And Powerhouse Pokémon

As part of Pokémon Go, you need to get your hands on rare Pokémon like Dragonite, Snorlax, Tyranitar and others.

Spoofers used a method of teleportation called sniping to catch 100’s of rare Pokémon a day. You would need to teleport to the Pokémon, click on it to enter the capture screen, then teleport back to your initial location. Sniping was so popular dedicated websites like PokeSniper and PokeZz gave an endless list of coordinates to any Pokémon you could dream of.

In order to combat this, Niantic implemented a Soft-Ban system for changing locations to quickly. You would be unable to catch anything or spin any PokeStops for up to 4 hours.

The system had some flaws. For starters you couldn’t get banned for sniping because, if you went back to your original location while on the capture screen the game believed you hadn’t moved. Also, you could un-ban yourself by doing the 40 glitch. All you needed to do was spin a PokeStop 40 times and you would no longer be banned.

In early April the 40 glitch was removed and sniping was stopped, but not entirely. In order to snipe now you need to wait a great distance between jumps (2-3 hours). This still didn’t change the fact that people had legions of Pokémon, but it was a start.

GoFest And Anti-Spoofing Measures

In the middle of May, Niantic announced their first big Pokémon Go event: Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, Illinois. Due to all the publicity many assumed there would be extreme anti-cheating methods in place.

This system was a one time use QR code system. It did work relatively well, but it was still easy to get your hands on them as Go Fest attendees were giving them out on livestream the whole day.

To round of the day, you didn’t even need QR codes to gain access to the well publicised legendaries raids. This, along with constant network issues, is why many consider GoFest to be a failure.

Pokemon GO Legendary Raids
Legendary Raids were suddenly not a GO Fest exclusive anymore

Why People Spoof

There are a few arguments for spoofing to be laid out for you.

  1. Rural players with little to no Pokémon get next to nothing, and do it to be equal.
  2. Those who are injured and ill deserve to play the game as well.
  3. The game is not a competition game (like Dota with numerous tournaments) so it does no real harm.

Why people are against it

  1. It’s against the TOS (terms of service).
  2. It’s called Pokémon Go,not Pokémon sit still.
  3. They want their gym coins.

Overall, until Niantic start to focus on these apps people will continue to use them. I would not recommend using them, but it’s all up to you.

Author & tags

Antonio started the Hub in July 2016 and hasn't had much sleep since. Software developer. Discord username: Zeroghan. 29 years old.

Further reading

Popular today

Latest articles

Support us

Buy GO Hub merch

Get your very own GO Hub t-shirt, mug, or tote.