The launch of Pokémon GO this summer was marked by two defining traits. First, server problems plagued the system, preventing many from being able to play or log in at all. Second, shortly after the launch, we saw the rise of a number of third-party apps and websites designed to make it easier to find Pokémon in your area. These two weren't entirely separate, however, as many of these third-party programs gathered information directly from Niantic's servers, thus contributing in part to the server load. Shortly thereafter, Niantic shut the third-party sites down, much to the disappointment and outright anger of many of Pokémon GO's massive fanbase. Niantic later stated that these shut downs were done in an effort to maintain the quality of their service. Furthering these comments, Niantic's Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Quigley, recently reiterated that the decision was tough, but it was made in order to "do right by the brand, by our players and Niantic."
Though these tools were extremely useful for finding Pokémon near you, they were affecting gameplay in a negative way. According to Quigley, "They were just crushing us on the server side." Many of these apps worked by pinging Pokémon GO's servers and thus were able to access the data needed to display maps of where certain Pokémon were and how long they would be there. Coupling the massive popularity of these services with the extremity of Pokémon GO's success, it's no wonder why so many people had trouble with the app in the early days.
Thus, Niantic made the decision to shut these services down. Many players grew angry with Niantic, even going so far as to demand refunds for the purchases they made within the game. Despite what it may seem, the decision to proceed in this manner wasn't taken lightly by Niantic. Quigley continued:
"I won't say it's a no-win situation but it's a tough balance. You've got to keep fans happy but you also have to keep the core product accessible.
"Some of the server outages back in July were a punch in stomach. For us, for fans, for The Pokémon Company too - it's not a good signal for their brand. We're very close to them and we have to do right by the brand, by our players and Niantic. That's why we had to make some of those hard decisions like blocking third-party sites. It's difficult but ultimately it's the right thing to do for the life of the product." — Mike Quigley
It's certainly a reasonable enough rationale for removing these services. After all, services like this go against the spirit of the game and cause unnecessary strain on Niantic's end.
What do you think? Was Niantic right to shut down these companion apps or did removing them cause more harm than good?