Taiwan's "Pokemon Grandpa" has 15 phones arrayed around his bike handlebars


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/16/chen-san-yuan.html


I’m told that a single player with multiple accounts breaks Niantic’s terms of service. How do you suppose that he continues to get away with it? That said, my friend who pointed the infraction to me has multiple phones and multiple accounts himself.


Niantic makes money off those mult-account folks, so they’re in no rush to enforce that policy.


Pokemon Go is just a poor, poor (but more expensive) alternative to geocaching.


My friend is completely and sometimes annoyingly obsessed with the game, playing both phones when we go out for drinks or a meal. It taps into his obsessive/compulsive tendencies. It’s sort of distressing how into the game this 57 year old man is, though I guess it’s mostly harmless.


I assume it’s like other MMOs, where generally there’s no rule against multiple accounts but any third-party software that allows you to automate them or control them simultaneously on the same device is ban-worthy.

I don’t really see the point of multiple accounts in this case, besides a brute-force way to churn the random nature of pokemon stat spawns with the best ones traded to your primary account… but that’s a heck of a lot of work in my book for something that’s supposed to be low-key fun.


Actually, they consider multiple accounts as cheating.

Methods of cheating, unfortunately, are limited only by cheaters’ imaginations, but include at a minimum the following: using modified or unofficial software; playing with multiple accounts (one account per player, please); sharing accounts; using tools or techniques to alter or falsify your location; or selling/trading accounts.

As for why you might want multiple accounts, from what I understand, I think it means you can trade creatures between your different accounts, and you can also give gifts. I also think that there’s an in-game mechanism where you take over bases, or whatever they’re called, and the more people attacking the base, the more likely you are to capture it. And if you’re playing with multiple accounts, you don’t have to co-ordinate with friends and teammates. You can do it by yourself, so it gives you a certain extra advantage.

I think the reason why one can get away with it is because Niantic can’t really tell that players are playing with more than one account.


All of those things are technically true but I have to say from observation that the overall impact of them on the game is negligible. You don’t need multiple accounts/people to take a gym. “Gifts” are somewhere between worthless and an actual liability–most players have an entire strategy devoted to when to open gifts they’ve received in order to keep limited inventory from being flooded with undesirable, non-deleteable items. Trading pokemon between multiple accounts would allow you to accumulate more desirable ones on a single account, sure, but you’re still subject to the overall limits on trades and their cost.

As for raids, maybe I’m biased in that I live an isolated life far from an urban center where coordinating five people to maybe take on a legendary is like herding cats*, but if someone goes to the amount of trouble it takes to level up two accounts and accumulate pokemon sufficiently powerful to solo a mid-level raid that would otherwise take multiple people… well, more power to them. (Granted, a lot of second accounts are probably acquired from a partner or child who has quit playing, but the leveling curve in this game is brutal enough that taking a midlevel account to max is almost as difficult as starting at zero.)

The only multi-account behavior I can think of that really reaches the level of “cheating” or “exploit” is that if you live in a sufficiently isolated area where there are accessible gyms that don’t flip very often, multiple accounts on different teams could allow you to strategically flip them on a schedule that maximizes the amount of in-game currency reward for leaving pokemon in gyms to defend them. Which would max out at… the equivalent of 50 cents per account, per day, not transferable between accounts in any form.

I can see why Niantic probably prefers that people not have multiple accounts, but the level at which it’s damaging to the game is so low that it’s most likely an extra infraction they can add on to people indulging in more serious behavior (botting, geohacking, etc.) to extend their bans. The effort/reward balance of multiple accounts is such that the people who maintain them are generally going to be the most dedicated players, and the ability to truly exploit the system in a way that negatively impacts other players with an extra account alone remains minimal.

*For the record, I only have one account, because a) I’m lazy, and b) I don’t have multiple smartphones to throw around.


I do both… well sorta. MrsTobinL is the official signed up geocacher. I go along on weekends to see new things plus I get to do Pokemon Go at the same time… well when we are not out in the woods or the deep suburban residential areas.


Oddly similar to those rating farms where they do the same thing, only bigger, to spam thousands of ratings in app stores and such.


wow… I am not that bad. It did give me just enough reason to take 2 mile daily walks when I was unemployed which was helpful for my mood. As I can take transit to work now I play for the time I am walking to and from the transit center and home.


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