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Alex Yuan (AySz88)
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Alex Yuan (AySz88)

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The +Niantic Project  Fails to Maintain Control of +Ingress 
Capabilities of company to handle future geolocation games in doubt

9 December 2015 - San Francisco, CA

In this writer's opinion, it would be worth reconsidering an investment based upon this company's ability to accurately determine the locations of players in an Augmented Reality game.

The globally popular game #Ingress  , recently spun off by Google into a new entity (Niantic Labs http://www.nianticlabs.com/), has been plagued since that time with unscrupulous players "spoofing" - using techniques to falsely report their location in the world and the game.

At the same time, freelance "gear sites" have been selling pre-leveled accounts and in-game items through eBay and by directly advertising in the game's player-communication channels.

+Niantic Project  seems unable to effectively address these issues, and has not publicly acknowledged them as affecting gameplay.  It's not clear if the issues persist because of staffing/resource limitations of a spin-off/start-up effort, or simply because of an inability to address the technical challenges.  But in either case, there are reports of many long-time supporters reducing play or leaving the game entirely as a result.  Alluding to the Ingress tag line, "It's TIme To Move" , one veteran player quipped, "Anyone who plays Ingress by actually moving now is a chump, it seems."

In New England, several players who frequently coordinate "fields" (virtual in-game triangles between different map locations) as part of the game have simply elected not to participate in a global fielding challenge that is part of an event series known as "Abaddon."  Gameplay seems futile so some, as remotely-controlled accounts create and destroy "links" and "fields" - which are used for scoring the game regionally and globally.  

An inquiry among players reveals dozens of incidents that have been reported through Niantic Labs' support channels:  Players "appearing" in restricted military bases, on remote islands, and on mountaintops in the game - without actually being there.  While some accounts have been disabled, others have not, and this appears to be a "cat and mouse" game between Niantic Labs and the rogue players.  One "spoofer" recently declared in the game's public communication channel that the account being used was purchased as a "pre-leveled" account, and even provided an eBay link.  That player's account remains active, and was recently used to place fields over the nation of Cuba.

The frustration among players is palpable.  "I really just do not understand how Niantic can sit by and let this happen," fumed one, "They are alienating their most experienced and dedicated player base by allowing this. It's baffling."

Niantic Labs' CEO and Founder +John Hanke recently announced an effort; backed by an initial $20M in funding from Nintendo (NTDOY), the Pokémon Company, and Google (GOOG); to produce a mobile game in the popular Pokémon franchise called "Pokémon GO." There seems little doubt that the technology used for Ingress was a significant part of this decision, but it remains an open question if the new entity will have sufficient resources or technology to handle these challenges as effectively as it did previously, when it operated entirely as a resource within Google.

The possibility of a children's game ultimately dominated by cheaters, as appears to have happened with Ingress, is a prospect that should be of concern for any brand or investors.

# # #

editorial Opinions represented are that of the author, and no other person or entity  Copyright (C) 2015

#Niantic   #Ingress   #spoofing   #game   #Pokemon   #Nintendo  

posted to Ingress/COMM for comment
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Alex Yuan (AySz88)

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Update 10/2/15: Memorial contributions can be made here - http://gofundme.com/xued5fw Full post: https://plus.google.com/+KristenHeathSplashum/posts/dbMmpgnV86A

Update: *+Cody Cooper* has let us know that Quinn (Wilsburg) did not make it. The family is currently notifying friends and family and will let us know of memorial plans.

Most of you have seen Umpqua Community College in today's headlines; a shooter has claimed the lives of 10 individuals with another 7 seriously wounded in a small town in Southern Oregon.

There were two Ingress agents on campus at the time and we have not been able to locate one of them, +wilsburg961​, as of 5:30pm.

Wilsburg's family is working with local officials to locate him, and his brother, +Cody Cooper​@cooper961010, will let us know as soon as they have any word.

@cable0570 was on campus as well, and is safe and sound.

In the wake of today's tragedy we have seen an outpouring of concern and kindness from agents all over the world, thank you. Updates will be provided as we hear more information.

News story (live updates): http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/10/active_shooting_reported_at_um.html

Blood Drive: https://plus.google.com/events/cpov4dlv75pvfnrd88ql6u14g2c 

Donations for victims and their families: http://m.ktvl.com/article?id=27889076
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Oh fuck. What a horrible thing :(
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Alex Yuan (AySz88)

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Excited for this!

Niantic better not mess this up though....
 
We at Niantic, Inc. are excited to announce Pokémon GO, a new project built in collaboration with The Pokémon Company and Nintendo Co, which will be coming to players everywhere in 2016.  This ground breaking game sets Pokémon loose in the real world for the first time. 
 
In Pokémon GO, players will be able to catch, trade, and battle in the real world by utilizing location information. Pokémon GO’s gameplay experience goes beyond what appears on screen as players explore their neighborhoods, communities and the world they live in to discover Pokémon alongside friends and other players. 

Pokémon GO will be available for download at no charge on the App Store and Google Play in 2016. See the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sj2iQyBTQs&index=1&list=PLQWzKIaERirwyaLCHXafULQs4In_FS2WA

#Niantic  #PokemonGO
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When I think back to the #nymwars  from 2011, I remember feeling disappointed and saddened by Google's original policy, which in essence cargo culted Facebook's oppressive policy. It took a consistent few years of pressure from inside and outside the company, but Google eventually changed course in favor of allowing any non-abusive name (e.g. no zalgo text glitching, no hate speech, anything else goes). I'm glad to be on the right side of history even if my employer wasn't initially onboard, and am sad that Facebook is still in the stone ages in terms of bleating the "real names make people safer" line. Real names don't make people safer.

Opinions my own, and not Google's.
Despite Facebook's insistence that its "real names" policy keeps its users safe, a new report reveals that Facebook is the least safe place for women onl
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Alex Yuan (AySz88)

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Google+ supremacy?
 
You spoke. We listened. 
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Holy crap. Scary insight into how Apple's "marketing" is doing what they are doing. I thought it was just catchy ads and good PR, but nothing to this horrifyingly manipulative extent.

This is the third instance today where the term oligarchy has come to mind (or explicitly said) and this is the scariest.
 
This is an almost unbelievable account of what it's like to be a tech journalist at the twin mercy of Apple's banhammer and Applified editors.  Hint: it's probably not the listed writer who decided to give their article such a pro-Apple slant.
"We can start?"  "You can't use my name." "I know." "I would't just get fired and applebanned. I'd probably never work again." "No names. Totally cool." "For the record, I've been drinking." "Noted." ...
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The reason editors would be afraid to be blacklisted and why they would promote Apple positive stories is pretty simple: people like reading about Apple news! It's less likely that people buy Apple products because of the positive news.
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Alex Yuan (AySz88)

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Was a bit disgusted when this got into an Indiegogo newsletter and I saw $200k+ worth of crowdfunding money sunk into this product. :/ I believe the FDA would have regulatory authority, as it appears to claim that it would diagnose vitamin/mineral deficiency.  I reported the product to the FDA at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ucm059315.htm
and recommend others do the same.
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Hey guys, hoping we're all on one PvE team instead of random factions!

Here's something I posted on reddit to get people ready for community-building.  Glad to see that +Juan Lopez seems to have volunteered to be the first sacrifice. :p
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+Juan Lopez​ I don't know buddy. Arceus is cool and all, but it's no Shuckle. 
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Alex Yuan (AySz88)

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Now that I see there's some demand for it, I have 5 invites to Google Contributor to give away, as well.  (It's more popular than I expected!)
 
Anybody want an invite to Google Contributor?
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If you still have some, I would not mind jumping on board +Alex Yuan​! 😊
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Alex Yuan (AySz88)

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Absolutely on point. Philly's behavior has just been nothing but more fuel for the anti-Niantic fire, and for a long time now. Niantic (the real one) needs to address this - the top tier game is totally overshadowed by the RL "players vs Niantic" drama that it has become.
 
If you followed the Persepolis Lightman Shard game at all you probably heard a thing or two about DS-14, and ENL anchor for a blocking link, which was removed, along with the link. Reasons given ranged from safety to supposed inaccessibility, despite the fact that all the other portals in the same base were left in place. The one that was removed just happened to have hack mods and a blocking link. Lets not talk about how the dancing man below, somehow knew to throw a RES blocking link immediately after our link vanished. 

Then there was Cojo Ranch - also holder of an ENL link, also valuable to the ENL in the shard game, also removed. 

And now Lockheed Martin - ones the ENL used repeatedly for the shard game...gone.

All of the portals that were removed met portal guidelines - and in fact the official Niantic page asks that players NOT report them as none of them were on private residential property. (see  https://support.google.com/ingress/answer/3270467?hl=en)

Prior to today I just swallowed the pill. Whatever, I guess, the RES have a "community manager." The ENL do not have an equivalent face. I've tried to explain why this is to the newer players in our area, but I have no real explanation. I don't know. I've tried  to tell them he's technically there for all of us...but then gifs like this are made and portals are removed with his hand of influence, and it becomes really hard to attempt to say with a straight face that Joe is anything but a Resistance player on Niantic's dime who occasionally forgets to flip back to his blue account after being on his green account.

I don't know if he had a hand in Cojo Ranch or LM portal removals, but it is pretty hard not to draw a conclusion from gifs like this. It is pretty hard not to throw your hands up and say "what the hell is the point of sleepless nights and hours of time invested into all of this if Niantic employees are going to openly dance on the stage like this?" The pill is becoming harder and harder to swallow +John Hanke

+Niantic Project +Ingress +Brian Rose +Brandon Downey  

**ETA** 

For all those who have had a lot of trouble reading, not once did I ask for Joe to be fired, for him to be tarred and feathered, or for him to be taken out back and beaten. I also specifically stated that I didn't know whether he had anything to do with Cojo or LM, and now, as it appears RES have confirmed that at least one agent bugged LM until LM contacted Niantic for removal, I can accept that explanation (however I disagree with the removal and the behavior of the agent(s?)). I know the number of a good eye doctor if you are having trouble reading the screen. 

Niantic could avoid creating such a frustrating environment for both factions if they took a hard stance on these kinds of portals, and then administered it fairly across the board. I stand by my feeling that a community manager dancing like this is not cool. 
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The top level game is mostly not worth engaging in. 
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PSA: you can unfollow Joe Philley and only follow the Niantic related collections now, finally! No more proud ignorance posts....
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Go enl!
 
TLDR: INGRESS is a game that's it, a game with real people playing.  Please remember that a little kindness goes a long way no matter what team someone is on.

On Saturday the 28th Denver was blessed enough to be part of the Shonin anomaly events.   I have now been a team leader of four anomaly's and this is the first event where i felt action must be taken to insure that a player(on the resistance) was treated with respect.

The event started like any other teams formed clusters were tended to, and we were all having fun.  My team had three very low level players on it so questions were being asked at almost every phase of the game.  Questions included how the scoring worked,  what roles do what and why, even how Jarvis's and ADA'a work.  As a team lead i have grown accustom to having such questions asked, and i really dont mind sharing game knowledge with others.  Yes some of the questions are repeated again and again but we were all in that boat at one point and just didnt know how something worked.  So answers were repeated and with a smile, again we were all new at one point.

Clusters one, two, and three went and to my knowledge my team was having a blast when i heard something weird come from the mouth of one of my team members "Really im sorry you should come join us".  At this point i assumed that a player lost his team in the switching of clusters and needed to tag along but i was WAY WRONG.  Come to find out the player we were talking to was resistance!?!?  What had happened is this player is new to Ingress and joined the anomaly last second and was placed on a random team.  From speaking to him i found out that his team of higher level players were to busy playing even between measurements to answer simple questions like "what should i be doing?  What portal should i deploy on? What do i do if i am out of xm?" ect.  His team told him at one point to just do what ever they were bugging him.  ARE YOU F#&%ING KIDDING ME.  At this point i was pissed.  The player was upset and was going to just go home as he had enough and i dont blame him.  Lucky for me my team had other plans.  Within minutes we had him join the enlightened and welcomed him into our team as a level 1 frog.  You could see happiness in his eyes when we asked him to finish the last cluster with us.  By the end of cluster four our new friend hit level 3 and was having fun again.

The reason we all play games is to have fun.  We are all people from every walk of life.  I have played with people that were male, female, black, white, straight, gay, religious, or not, physically handicapped, mental handicapped, but none of that should matter when it comes to how we play the game.  I dont care if your Enlightened or Resistance IT'S JUST A GAME.  were all here to have fun and try to win, just dont forget that winning shouldn't stop you from being at least being tolerant if not kind to others.

I know this is just a mess of text and i shouldn't post when im pissed but people need to know that all it takes to make some ones day is a small act of kindness.  If you are a team leader its you JOB to make sure people on your team are safe and have fun, not just to win. If you are playing the game out and about remember the person on the other side of the scanner is just like you A PERSON not a bot.  

Team Lead of Echo-1 Enlightened Denver,
Knives55       
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The first public map of Ingress regional scoring cells

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The standard ($12.50) car wash service is startlingly poor - the automatic machines seemed to do very little. After going through the wash, I noticed the workers had to wipe dust off the right-side doors of the car by hand with their towels, and a streak of stuck-on dirt looked intact (or maybe was even caused by the wash??). Where the water was let dry instead of wiped off, there are lots of dirty water spots. I feel bad for these employees! They need to renovate the machines, badly. Not worth the money, even with my $2.50 coupon off.
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