Yesterday the gods of public communication blessed us all, as John Hanke (Niantic CEO) directly responded to a Tweet asking that Niantic shuts down all GPS spoofing apps:
@luiscabrera1992 thanks for the heads up.
— John Hanke (@johnhanke) May 15, 2017
TutuApp, FlyGPS and NewGPS! Joystick are all well known apps that were used to fake (mock) players’ GPS location in Pokémon GO.
Fortunately, the March Android Security update disabled most of these apps on various Android versions, however, not everyone decided to update.
Hanke is known to foreshadow upcoming changes and far reaching internal projects by answering community Tweets, but he only does it once every 3-4 months. Last time that Hanke directly answered a similar Tweet, this happened: “Update on Maintaining and Running the Pokémon GO Service”
In other words, Hanke’s response could indicate that Niantic is considering reaching out to these apps and shutting them down. Although, legally speaking, that’s a hard nut to crack.
Apps like FlyGPS and other GPS joystick apps have legitimate use cases and serve various utility purposes for developers, advanced users and users who need to avoid location limited services, paywalls, etc.
Although the use of these apps to cheat and gain unfair advantage in Pokémon GO should be strictly punished by Niantic, it’s hard to see how Niantic could force the devs to take their apps off the market.
What do you think? Should Niantic act legally or fix things on their end?