Saturday, July 23, 2016

LATEST POKÉMON GO Server Crash Deliberate

What is most feared by patrons of popular massive multiplayer online games has come to pass even for Niantic’s and the Pokémon Company’s collaborative entry effort of Nintendo in the mobile gaming arena. And it’s only bound to happen again in the future. Then again, it’s to be expected these days with the massive multinational launch being undertaken of late; from debuting in the US, Australia and New Zealand the first day, “Pokémon Go” now covers over 30 countries. So it came as no surprise when the app crashed anew on Saturday July 16.

This time around however, the loss of service may have been deliberately and maliciously triggered. In a series of tweets a group calling itself PoodleCorp not only claimed that it was responsible for the “Pokémon Go” server crash via Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS), but that it was implying a repeat performance in the immediate future.

Nintendo and especially developer Niantic has kept mum on the true cause of the crash on Saturday, passing it off as the usual inevitable problem of overloaded servers due to the exponentially increasing number of users. System messages on Niantic’s website merely urged players to be patient for system patches, with not a peep of possible hostile activity against the app servers.

For the dwindling few who are still not up to speed, “Pokémon Go” is the hottest mobile game the world over, and the most downloaded app in both Google Play and the Apple Store, at over 10 million times between the two sources. The game works by using map and GPS functions to both virtually populate the player’s surroundings with the franchise’s adorably cute Pokémon creatures, but also designate landmarks like parks and buildings as in-game locations called Poke-stops – where players receive supplies of random in-game items every fixed time intervals – and Pokémon Gyms where players can battle using their captured Pokémon, which is superimposed on the mobile devices’ camera feeds through augmented reality.

Some help of sorts is on the way for devoted “Go” players. Forbes reports that Pokémon franchise fans who also happen to be engineers have banded together to form a startup company out of New York, managing a website called that pretty much answers the question in its name. By tracking the availability of “Pokémon Go” servers and waiting time for logins, the site can reliably tell visitors when the app is in smooth waters or threatening to come crashing down yet again.

To give an example, uses a “Pokémon Go’ trainer account to check login speed every half-minute and the server response. If a login lasts over 8 seconds, a warning is issued on the site; over 15 seconds and it’s bound to go critical. Other indicators measure server performance to better predict the likelihood of another crash, although site creator Vianney Tran assures that danger indications to not necessarily mean a guaranteed loss of service.

With the handy website available, “Go” players may have a bit of advance warning as “Pokémon Go” flexes its processing muscle with every new country it launches in, and with the lingering presence of hackers like PoodleCorp to cause further trouble.

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