With Pokémon GO being played with unprecedented popularity, it does not surprise anyone in the least when cheaters and botters are spotted in the community. It’s entirely frustrating for players that just want to play the game the way they’re intended to do so, especially when you can’t seem to keep up with gym battles due to excessive cheating.
DeadlyMel0dy started a thread on the Pokémon GO subreddit pointing out cheaters using GPS spoofing in order to occupy a gym near them in Hong Kong. Essentially, DeadlyMel0dy lives near a gym, but it’s located in a village of 60 or so people. The game has only been out for less than 2 weeks in Hong Kong, so it’s highly unlikely there are legitimate players over level 33 with 3000+ CP Dragonites defending the gym.
I live in Hong Kong where the game was released 10 days ago. The amount of GPS spoofing here is so massive and obvious I’m genuinely wondering how come it is not a largely debated feature. I believe it just gets under the radar for many people. For me it is the #1 factor killing the game, by and large.
GPS spoofing apps alter the location of your phone, making it think you’re elsewhere. With that happening, players can essentially capture gyms all of the world without leaving the comfort of their own home.
It’s obvious how GPS spoofing can ruin the fun for others, especially if you’re limited to where you can catch Pokémon, gym locations, and Pokéstops. The Reddit thread also has comments regarding the same issue in other areas of the game, such as Brazil.
I am surrounded with remote gyms that get a degree of activity related in no proportion to the human passage in the area. More generally, the amount of 30+ players in the city is astonishing, considering the game was released last Monday and the amount of time you need to dedicate to make that happen. Hong Kong is not exactly a place of unemployed slackers either. It is also a very dense city where you can catch lots of Pokemon, but I have every reason to believe a significant amount of the higher level trainers do it with a spoofing app from a comfy air-conditioned office or living room, as opposed to wandering across the city in the middle of the tropical summer.
Niantic has gotten rid of third-party Pokémon trackers, so hopefully GPS spoofing apps are on their radar as well. It’s not fair for players that actually play the game legitimately, especially those with limited access to the game’s features.