The company “revoked” Articuno form player’s accounts just a day after announcing they had the prized Pokémon.
Rumors and fakes of legendary Pokémon (and… Ditto) have appeared throughout the web during the last days…
…But a katiecovey’s case was a bit different.
Alleging she got it as an apology from a Niantic’s employee after reporting some issues with the game, images of her Articuno spread like fire on the Internet, who would have shot it down as a hoax if it wasn’t for a particularly convincing Twitch livestream…:
…where we can clearly see the Articuno, his status screen, hear its cry, all upon multiple tests demanded by skeptics. This was accompanied by some videos of an Articuno stationed at a Gym in Ohio, and Reddit users claiming to have faced the beast in Gyms.
Promptly, Niantic caught on, and the next thing we knew, they were giving a statement to IGN, where they apparently recognize the existence of these legendary Pokémon, and say they have already “rectified” the situation:
“We recently noticed that a few Legendary Pokémon got into a few accounts when they shouldn’t have, To preserve the game’s integrity and as a measure of fairness, we have rectified the situation and revoked the legendary Pokémon from the Trainers’ accounts.”
This comes as a surprise, specially to more tech-savvy players, as Legendary Pokémon shouldn’t “technically” exist in the game code yet. More so, previous legendary Pokémon reports had been shot down, with their makers even posting the process to faking those encounters, without a word from Niantic.
Some people go as far as concluding the whole Articuno scandal is a hoax, just a well elaborated one.
Observations about the Twitch stream include the fact the app showed there might not have been the most recent version, in which Niantic patched many security issues (like those permitting the existence of 3rd party radar apps).
This opens the room for a possible hack, either by hacking the app or by mounting a fake local server to fetch false data into the game. Sounds convoluted, but Pokémon 3D models don’t reside into the app, being instead served to it from the Internet.
So, with proper knowledge of the server language, this is doable, and “taking care” of player’s “proper” knowledge of the server language is the main reason for Pokémon Go’s latest update (taking out the 3-steps mechanic until god knows when wasn’t the only motivator after all).
Pokémon fans have always been a hack-happy bunch, but if Articuno wasn’t faked, but rather “brought out” by force, this shows a serious security issue which could affect (read: ruin) the to-be-announced Legendary Pokémon events, which are probably the game’s most hyped upcoming feature.
Sadly, Everest climbing remains outside the scope of this article.