Niantic has filed a lawsuit against Global++, a group of developers that creates hacked / tweaked versions of popular AR games like Pokemon GO and Ingress. Hacked apps like “PokeGo++” and “Ingress++” give users an unfair advantage, while simultaneously infringing on Niantic’s intellectual property rights, Niantic says in the lawsuit.
[Update (4:43 PM UTC)]
- Global++ official website has been removed
- Global++ Discord servers have been deleted
- A message was shared on the Global++ Discord announcing end of service:
Global is calling the “++” versions of the game “tweaked”, while Niantic is calling them hacked, creating a basis for a lawsuit. The “++” versions include features like GPS manipulation, auto walking and sniping, all of which are against the game’s Terms of Service and Player Conduct code.
Alongside two alleged lead developers, the lawsuit names 20 unknown defendants, also alleged members of Global++ who couldn’t be personally identified. “Among other things, defendants’ schemes undermine the integrity of the gaming experience for legitimate players, diminishing enthusiasm for Niantic’s games and, in some cases, driving players away from Niantic’s games altogether. Defendants’ schemes therefore damage Niantic’s reputation and goodwill and interfere with Niantic’s business,” the lawsuit says.
Niantic is seeking a “preliminary injunction” in the lawsuit, which would force Global++ to immediately stop distributing tweaked versions and to stop any work on reverse engineering the official code distributed by Niantic.
Global++ has already developed a tweaked / hacked version of Wizards Unite, Niantic’s soon to be released Harry Potter game. As per our own investigation, this seems to be true, as Global is openly advertising Potter++ on social media since at least May 10th.
Niantic has expressed concern over Potter++ in the motion for a preliminary injunction:
“Niantic files this motion on the eve of the United States launch of Harry Potter, the culmination of a multi-year, multi-million dollar investment by Niantic, the success of which is threatened by defendants’ unlawful conduct”
The lawsuit will take months and years to reach a conclusion, but if Niantic manages to get a preliminary injunction, Global would be forced to stop distributing ++ apps, essentially preventing any damage to Wizards Unite at launch.