Following the official release of augmented-reality app Pokémon GO in Austalia and New Zealand, an online APK download was discovered, allowing trainers worldwide fans to play the game – regardless of their region.
However, there’s a rumour going round that The Pokémon Company, Nintendo or Niantic could ban Android devices that download the game, resulting in heaps of players removing the app from their phone (via. Eurogamer).
Whilst there is no evidence to assume that this is the case, many users have taken to Twitter to warn others about the APK file. As reported by Eurogamer, one message was retweeted over 1,000 times:
If you have downloaded the APK for Pokemon GO delete it now. They are banning your device and not your account, which is much worse!
— Twintendo (@Twintendo_) July 6, 2016
YouTuber Maeka also tweeted that downloading the game outside official regions is “risking a ban”:
If you are on Android and got the Pokemon GO apk from outside of your region, you are risking a ban. Just as a heads up.
— Maeka (@MaekaGaming) July 6, 2016
According to one Reddit user, Niantic Labs has been known to ban users for similar happenings with its previous game, Ingress.
“Not that anyone will read this, but as an ingress vet, I’ll throw my two cents in: please don’t spoof, or download the apk or register a fake apple ID to get it early for your region.
Niantic used to ban people for drift hacking, and it would be a shame to find many new trainers suddenly being banned. The process to get unbanned is long and arduous, and it’s not worth it.”
It’s worth reiterating that no evidence has been found to support this rumour. Indeed, another commenter on the same thread claimed the APK file has reached over 12 million downloads, which seems a little large to result in a mass-ban.
Another concern raised with the download has been its potential for malware. To download the game, Android users will need to set their device to allow installations from unknown sources, which can be risky. SecurityFAQs wrote an article on the importance of downloading from trusted sources, which you can read here.
Pokémon GO launched officially on Tuesday in Australia, New Zealand, and select areas in the US. According to The Verge, the game has now launched officially on the US Play and Apple Stores. A release date for other countries has yet to be confirmed.