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posted by hubie on Sunday May 12, @12:48AM   Printer-friendly
from the needs-a-new-hobby dept.

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2024/05/pokemon-go-players-are-altering-public-map-data-to-catch-rare-pokemon/

Ah, Pokémon Go. The hottest mobile game of 2016 remains a potent force to this day, pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars a year from tens of millions of monthly active players.

Part of what keeps the game fresh is a continuous trickle of new Pokémon. The game began with just the original 151 monsters back in 2016 and has gradually caught up to the current generation of Switch games in bits and pieces over the last eight years. The game is currently in the process of adding monsters from Scarlet and Violet, and that's where this story begins.
[...]
According to a report from 404 Media, some of those players have been adding fake beaches to OpenStreetMap so they could have easier access to the beach biome in Pokémon Go (though the game Go initially used Google Maps data, it apparently switched to OpenStreetMap at some point in 2017). OpenStreetMap contributors have discovered "beaches" that were actually located in residential backyards, golf courses, and sports fields.
[...]
Entire blog posts, wiki entries, and presentations from OSM mappers exist to bridge the knowledge gap, explaining the purpose of OpenStreetMap data to Pokémon Go users and breaking down Pokémon Go game mechanics for frustrated OSM contributors.
[...]
Though many users are "truth-stretching" vandals who create nonexistent parks, beaches, and footways to encourage specific Pokémon to spawn, others become "very careful, trustworthy" OSM users who "make many worthy additions to the map" by accurately mapping out places where OSM's data is patchy or outdated.


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by bzipitidoo on Sunday May 12, @03:48AM (1 child)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Sunday May 12, @03:48AM (#1356619) Journal

    I played Magic the Gathering for perhaps a decade. It's a decent game, but a horrible money pit. I attempted to moderate the expense by using proxies. That unfortunately was not accepted by the hardcore players who seemed more in it for the money than the fun. Made it all the easier for me to get out.

    I have never learned Pokemon Go, but have heard it's very similar to MtG. That was enough for me to not even look at the game. If the hardcore players of Pokemon Go are anything like the hardcore MtG players, it's no surprise at all that they'd vandalize a public information resource for a few game items.

    Lot of MMO games have had exploits with plenty of their players willing to use them. Ultima Online was especially nasty with PKers lurking everywhere, getting their kicks out of murdering noobs the moment they leave the town in which they started. Roblox has a lot of problems with scammers manipulating the weaknesses in the trade system. If you get a proposal to try to do a trade, but the other is rapidly flickering the indicator showing ready or not ready to execute the trade, that's a sign they're trying to scam you. If they succeed in taking good stuff for nothing because they used a macro to remove everything they offered in an eyeblink, they will instantly log off to dodge the Roblox reporting system that for some idiotic reason will only let you report players who are currently online. The now classic game of Doom had the problem of players camping spawn points. I have never played the team capture-the-flag sorts of games such as Team Fortress 2, but vaguely recall hearing of some pretty bad exploits.

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday May 13, @01:50PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday May 13, @01:50PM (#1356812) Journal

      Spawn camping has been a thing since forever. Some games are old enough that it was a novel concept / not something they thought about when designing a map/etc. Nowadays, if you're letting people spawn camp, you're doing it wrong as a publisher. MMO + Trolls seems like par for the course. I never played on the official UO servers. I only played seriously on a single "Free Shard" which eventually fizzled and died. Roblox is just a more scummy Minecraft (then again I've barely played Minecraft and I've never played Roblox). I've generally avoided both like the plague. Minecraft was interesting from an intellectual standpoint, but the creator sold out and I can't say I would turn down a Billion dollar pay day. Notch has his own issues though and I'm not even going to go into that.

      Getting on to Pokemon Go. It's a game designed to latch onto your wallet and suck it dry. The ridiculous amounts of money they rake in every year is proof of that. That said, I've never paid for anything in Pokemon Go (the wife did a time or two, which by extension was me as well, if you wanna go there). You can play the game, without spending a dime, but the ability to "boost yourself" is still there. Also, it's a mobile game . . . with barely anything involving PvP. I can barely wrap my mind around people dropping serious money on an app like that. It hurts the soul and I hope there's some Pokemon Addicts R Us recovery group out there or something. I can get paying a good amount for a nice PC, hardware, etc. Dropping tons of money on a single game is insane. It just perpetuates the game developer's race to the bottom. Why should we make "good games" when we can make "addictive games"?

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Nuke on Sunday May 12, @10:14AM

    by Nuke (3162) on Sunday May 12, @10:14AM (#1356641)

    A text book example of the Tragedy of the Commons.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by looorg on Sunday May 12, @04:49PM (2 children)

    by looorg (578) on Sunday May 12, @04:49PM (#1356671)

    I do appreciate a good hack when I see one. I find it to be a clever map hack so as to spawn more critters.

    I seem to recall from when the game was first launched that they had pulled map data from somewhere, but it wasn't quite accurate or new. So some parts of the real world had become off-limits for one reason or another but inside it still spawned creatures, rare creatures, and it apparently made some players quite mad. It could have been like restricted industry plots, motorways etc. You don't want a bunch of 8-10ish year old children running out into the road to capture Umpalumpa564.

    So for them to have now figuring out that they can just add things to GoogleEarth/OpenStreetMap to spawn things closer to them -- must suck for some if there are special beach creatures but no beach where you live, go to the map and make a virtual beach. A clever hack imo.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, @11:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 12, @11:07PM (#1356719)

      Shopping malls?

      Spawn rich, spoiled, karen-critters?

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday May 13, @01:52PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday May 13, @01:52PM (#1356813) Journal

      The funny thing is that they don't keep it that up-to-date, apparently they only sync with OpenStreetMap something like once every 3 years or whatever I read.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
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