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Is playing Pokemon Go with a drone cheating? Yes, says internet

Gotta catch 'em all with minimal effort.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Jul 9, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 11:42 am CDT

Ever since becoming available to download earlier this week, Pokémon Go has been occupying the time of every wannabe Pokémon trainer by making them walk around their city and draining their phone’s battery.

Every trainer except Redditor hyperion995, that is. The aspiring Pokémon master decided that, instead of exploring by foot to find the wild pocket monsters scattered about the streets, he’d hook up a drone to do the work for him.

In a post on the Pokémon Go subreddit titled, “Is this considered cheating?”—a question that hyperion995 definitely knows the answer to, and the answer is “yes”—the enterprising Pokémon player showed off his drone-based means of exploration.

Hyperion995 mounted his Android smartphone to the landing gear of his DJI Phantom drone, held in place with a bit of tape. Using a program called AirDroid, the redditor took advantage of the AirMirror feature, which lets the user view and interact with a mirrored version of their phone via their computer. 

is this cheating?

The setup has allowed him to explore areas where Pokémon are located without have to make the trek by foot. Hyperion995 said in a comment that he doesn’t actually recommend duplicating his system because of interference between the phone and drone. 

“If you do attempt this, make sure to be in an open area where a falling phone can’t hurt or break anything as well as maintain line of sight with your drone because of the compass issues,” he advised.

Pokémon Go developer Niantic has declared drone use to be legal in its games, reasoning that the phone is still visiting the locations even if the person is not. Location spoofing, however, is against the rules.

Read more from the Daily Dot:

Despite its legality, it didn’t stop other redditors from expressing the typical response of snark and outrage. “It’s the fattest fat guy solution I’ve ever seen,” one user wrote. (Another self-proclaimed “fat guy” responded to note that he enjoyed the fact the game got him out and moving, an experience many users are having with the game’s incidental exercise.)

Another user claimed the use of the drone was “against the spirit of the game,” even though many seem to have no problem with users playing while driving—a thing that is actually dangerous and may cause harm to others. 

One redditor defended playing the game while driving instead of while droning, stating, “Driving around is also against the spirit of the game, but at least with driving you have a chance to be social.” Which is true, because you may have a very long conversation with the pedestrian you hit and the police who respond to the scene of the accident.

Correction 9:10am CT, July 11: An early version of this article misstated the name of the developer of Pokémon Go. That company is Niantic.

If you’re one of the millions who is currently obsessed with Pokémon Go, there’s lots more to know:

H/T Imgur

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*First Published: Jul 9, 2016, 11:30 pm CDT