We can once again add to the list of Pokémon Go’s ubiquity, as the game that is redefining the world “popular” now has users swapping their accounts for cold hard cash.
The competition between friends and gamers around the world is at a high, so it was only a matter of time before people began selling user credentials to power-hungry Pokémon hunters.
Grabbing an account on the market rather than, you know, actually playing the game and earning the Pokémon you collect, removes a whole lot of walking around from the hunting experience. Forget your level 20 Pidgey — just crack open your wallet and you’ll find yourself with a bunch of high level Pikachus and Charizards.
The market ranges from accounts in the high teens to low 20s, with “powerful and rare Pokémon for sale on Craigslist, Facebook and elsewhere,” Wired reports.
While the game itself features microtransactions that let users bump up their level or make it easier to catch Pokémon using power ups such as “lures,” this shortcut removes a lot of the hassle and certainly speeds up the process to Poké-fame.
Higher level accounts you purchase on the market will make it easier for you to find higher level Pokémon as well, as the game reveals more advanced Pokémon to experienced players — it gets better as you go, essentially.
This method also provides a way for players to make back some of the real-world money they may have spent on Pokémon Go. Have you “caught ‘em all” and mastered the game already? Selling your account might let you make back your investment in the game — unfortunately, there’s no way you’re getting back the hours you sunk into it.
The game’s developers, however, have strict policies against selling your account credentials to other users, as listings on Craigslist and Facebook have been removed shortly after they were posted. Niantic itself has been sending takedown notices for terms of service violations.
Selling high level accounts certainly isn’t a new concept in the gaming world — we’ve seen it with World of Warcraft, Clash of Clans, and other games in their own secondary markets — but that doesn’t make it legal or any less controversial. However, the incredibly short amount of time it took for Pokémon Go to even form its own secondary market is remarkable and certainly makes it worth noting.
Eric Schweitzer, CEO of PlayerUp, a game account marketplace that facilitates sales, told Wired that he’s “never seen so much attention towards a game like this at such an early stage.”