An Open Letter to John Hanke and Niantic
Dear John Hanke and Niantic Staff Members,
I will not be long-winded about my own background from my youth up as I have neither the time nor the energy (literally which I’ll explain below), but I will simply give you a synopsis of the situation and the consequences facing your impending action on the shocking news I just heard about your plan to do a massive banning on those who spoof on Pokemon Go.
First, allow me to present a very brief background: I started to play Pokemon Go shortly since it’s initial rollout in July of 2016, because my daughter, who is still in grade school, was interested in playing that game. Like most kids, she was enamored with watching Pokemon on TV from her youth up till now and thus she, like most other kids, was naturally drawn to playing this Augmented-Reality game. I play with her mainly because it allows me to spend some fun quality time with her to this day. To be upfront, I have to remain anonymous, because of my line of work for the government... something along the line of carrying out various clandestine Black Operations. I was a Computer Scientist prior to that working for the various Big-Named companies like Apple and others. Like you John, I am a Cal Berkeley alumnus. I became a bit distraught with life for a while in spite of my successful career in making high 6 figures in the 90s and had the opportunity to join Yahoo when there were only less than 10 people in the company and become deliriously rich, but I chose not to join Yahoo as other things are more important to me than becoming wealthy. I am not one who seeks after the vanity of fame, fortune, power, and prestige. People who have been there and done that can tell you that it does not satisfy as I’m sure you can attest to some degree. Therefore I chose to serve our country and join in some of the more dangerous missions. Needless to say, after doing that high-risk line of work for a while, I had been shot, injured too many times including over 8+ bone fractures and almost just as many surgeries. Furthermore, I have internal organs that could shutdown soon after contracting various diseases from drinking tainted water and getting tainted blood out in the field. I am now a disabled man with many physical disablements and ailments. Now my days on this earth are numbered as my symptoms are worsening.
Long story short, I only started spoofing a few months ago when my body could no longer go on those frequent trips here and there throughout the city to hunt down and raid for Pokemons. Being able to spoof actually brought a revived excitement to my daughter and my gameplay of Pokemon Go, because it enables us to go to places virtually without being able to physically go there. This makes your game Pokeman Go not just an AR(Augment-Reality) game, but also a VR(Virtual Reality) game to a limited degree, because we can see the photos of the various sites when we spin the Pokestops Here’s a FREE ADVICE FOR YOUR FUTURE GREAT LEAP IN FEATURES IMPROVEMENT: Niantic can incorporate the Google map view of the street-view of the buildings, houses, and the famous landmarks all around the avatar – that would truly be a big leap in making your game a VR game! I would appreciate a royalty for my daughter if you do implement this idea of ours.
It truly is a false notion that we spoofers decrease our spending; rather quite the opposite is true! We actually increase our spending on the various accounts on Pokemon Go to an average of $300-$400/month on buying gym passes, incubators, and style outfits. Even though that is overstretching our budget spending that much per month since I could not work any longer for a while; yet I don’t mind paying the last penny I may have just to see the smile on my daughter’s face when we caught a Shiny Pokemon—that is invaluable!
Now, I’ve learned just in the past few days after hearing the shocking news of Niantic’s plan on an impending massive ban on spoofers... that the main complaint against spoofers is that they tend to take over gyms in order to earn free coins. In all honesty sir, I do not see that practice in my circle of friends who spoof. Again, for me, that would be almost impossible as I have a diminishing time and energy per day to spend on gaming due to my ailments becoming more severe on a daily basis. My headache alone is like a grenade exploded in my head. Having said that, I have no doubt that there are a few toxic spoofers who may practice that bringing bad names and hatred against spoofers, but really I believe it is only a very very small minority. And I have a PERFECT SOLUTION I can offer for this problem: Simply disallow spoofers from putting their Pokemons on the gyms! That’s it! PROBLEM SOLVED!
In fact, I noticed that what you have already implemented is an overkilled – spoofers cannot even open the gym to battle. This poses a big problem in that it prevents non-toxic spoofers from completing certain quests and tasks. Again, all you need to do to solve this problem is to prevent any spoofers from leaving their Pokemons on gyms and we can live with that! No free coins whatsoever for spoofers is fine with us. If you can in fact identify accurately (-- this being the operative word) the toxic spoofers and ban those account ONLY, then, of course, the majority of spoofers would even support that!
In allowing spoofing with the above-suggested solution, you would then be truly known for your empathy for these people who served our country with great diligence even to the point of willingly lose their lives and limbs for the rest of this Country’s citizens to enjoy their lives, freedom, and their favorite pastimes. I am speaking in reference to the disabled veterans, disabled firemen, and disabled law-enforcement agents/officers. Of course, the rest of the disabled communities are benefited as well.
In addition, I’ve learned that the suburban and rural areas do not have a fair number of PokeStops and Pokegyms. Isn’t it highly unfair then for those who live in those regions of not only our country but throughout the world? Your commitment to fair and fun gameplay of Pokemon Go would be a reality if you allow for spoofing! The way it stands at this moment, that commitment is not at all a true statement but a falsehood, sorry to say. Last, but not the least, what about the poor of the world who could not afford to travel throughout the world to collect the regionals, who could not afford to purchase a car to drive to a distant site to catch a special pokemon where the nest is reported to have migrated to? And worst of all, the poor could not even afford to purchase sufficient supplies in the Pokemon Go game to complete their quests within the limited allotted timeframe? Thus, in reality, it is not a far-fetched thought that many of the Pokegyms that are occupied overnight are frequently overtaken by the poor just so that they could afford to earn sufficient amount of PokeCoins to purchase the supplies they need. Do you care for the poor at all or has Niantic been overtaken with greed due to its temporary bumper crop year of success last year and this year... up to this point? If so, that would be tremendously short-sighted, to say the least, for a CEO of a company to make. However, do not forget the adage: Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. 2017 could easily recur when the pervasive rumor, backed with facts, was that „Pokemon Go is DEAD!“ -- it was indeed very close to being dead.
Let’s presume for a moment that you, John Hanke, is feeling high and mighty because of the temporary success and pickup of business since 2018 till now; thus, you may ignore and discard any such pleadings, inputs, and suggestions from a big population of Pokemon Go players like myself. Allow me to remind you of another sobering FACT from trustworthy researchers conducted back in 2016 and in the USA alone (not to mention the rest of the world): From July 6, 2016, to November 30, 2016, there were at least 256 deaths attributed to players of Pokemon Go in just those few months – data was extrapolated from Police reports of the accidents! And a whopping $7.3 Billion in damage. From December os 2016 to this date, there must’ve been a horrendous increase in deaths and accidents caused by Pokemon Go players. If class-action lawsuits were to be filed, Niantic could easily be facing 100s of Billions of dollars in liability claims! What is your $100+ million income per month since 2018 compared to the great loss that your company could face in the coming days? If you are nice, people will mostly be nice to you and your company... hopefully no class-action lawsuits will be filed. I could attest to the fact that I myself were hit twice by Pokemon players... one of them being a teenager who was busy looking at the Pokemon Go telephone screen while his car swerved gradually to the opposing traffic and headed straight for me in a head-on collision. Had I not made a quick stop, honked, and allowed him sufficient room to get back on his lane (he recklessly floored the accelerator and hit part of my front bumper anyways, my daughter and I would’ve suffered a lot more injuries and car damages. I chose not to file any lawsuit against Niantic thus far for this and another Pokemon Go related accident. However, if you choose instead to be nasty to players like us who are asking you sensibly to implement something that is reasonable and sensible, you and your company will most likely be facing bankruptcy in the coming days! Another advice from a familiar adage: Do unto others what you like others to do unto you. By the way, this brings up YET ANOTHER MAJOR BENEFITS of ALLOWING SPOOFING: you will be preventing a lot of traffic congestions, car accidents and fatalities perpetrated by Pokemon Go players.
To conclude, would you like Niantic to be known as a good company that has once brought joy & fun to people of all ages and places throughout the world? Or would you like to end with a tragic negative label to your company as one that is greedy, oppressive to the poor and needy, heartless to the disabled and dying, without empathy to the infirmed heroes of our Country? Indifferent to the children’s need(most of whom also have a limited budget to purchase supplies in Pokemon Go; and in FACT (in case you are not aware) in catering to the adults' demography out of your greed perhaps, you have lost most of the children players of your game already! Etc. etc..
If revenue is all you care for and not the people, then allow me to break this to you:
You could lose up to 20%+ of your revenue immediately when the spoofer community ban together to boycott playing Pokemon Go. On top of that, another 20%+ loss could easily be realized when the rest of the sympathizers' communities hear of the story behind the negative attitudes and motivations your company has now taken. Oh, each spoofer knows at least 8+ legit players who can easily be swayed to sympathize with our cause, because I am (as I’m sure many other spoofers as well) generous enough to have gifted a lot of my regional Pokemons to players who could not afford to travel to places throughout the world to collect these Pokemons. I don’t believe you look forward to a loss of 40%+ (a conservative estimate) loss in revenue, especially now that the economic signs are starting to show a recession is on the verge which will make your profit go South in an instant like in 2017, do you?
Oh, in case you fancy that your disclaimer line that players should not play while driving is going to cover you from lawsuits... you just need to look at the giant tobacco company that had disclaimers about how smoking could cause lung cancer, etc... but did that protect them from class-action lawsuits that cost them 100s of Billions of dollars? We all know the answer is a resounding "NO."
I believe of course you are a logical, reasonable and not a heartless man filled with only greed and business success with total apathy for the suffering and the dire needs of humanity. I trust you will direct your company to do the right and the smart thing Mr. John Hanke with all due respect. I applaud you for the nice new features, greatly-improved CGIs, and many special events, special days, and FEST – too many I would say No one wants to see that end... least of all, you, your company staff and employees.
In all Sincerity and Seriousness,
The Anonymous Dying(from my multiple injuries and ailments as briefly mentioned above) Advocate and Defender of the Disabled, the Destitute, and the Deprived-from-free-and-fair-play players of Pokemon Go throughout the World
(P.S. To the public readers: I already know I don’t speak for all the Pokemon Go players, so kindly refrain from writing me negative feedback as I won’t have time or energy to read them anyway.)