This morning, I noticed a rather disturbing reddit thread about Pokemon Go. It wasn’t a rant thread or anything like that, although I wish it was. Instead, it was about the issue of disappearing accounts. Accounts which players reported as being gone. Not banned or locked out, just gone. You can read about it in this reddit thread .
What happens is that is players try to log in and get the message ‘Failed to get game data from server’ . Also, if the affected user had a Pokemon in the gym, tapping on that gym would cause the game to crash so it affects more than just the affected player. So far it seems that players have tried to email Niantic and the company has responded, although some players report being ignored. For now there’s no official annoucement from Niantic but I doubt so many people would create a fake event for no good reason. If you refer to the reddit thread, you’ll also note the original poster created links to two other threads detailing a similar issue so it isn’t new.
In fact, Reddit user SmarmyNarwhal details all of this in a lengthy comment in an incident which happened to him on 10th Septemder 2018, an issue which took a grand total of 81 days to resolve.
All the posts I see here reference the issues starting within the last two months, but this goes back much farther than that. My account, Level 39, went down all the way back on September 10, 2018. I will preface this by saying that my account is already back up, but let me tell you the story in full. This is pretty much my first Reddit post so sorry in advance for the length.
On September 10 I was in the middle of playing when I started to experience errors. I wasn’t able to click on Pokemon and couldn’t resolve it, so I restarted my game. When I reloaded I received a “Failed to get game data from server” error and couldn’t login. This was the beginning of a months long journey to retrieve my account. During this time I was unable to access my account and the three gyms I was in would give a network error if anyone tried to enter, just like other users here have described. I tried making a ban appeal because forums online had suggested these errors were a result of a ban. I received an email with the following message:
“Sorry to hear you’re having trouble accessing your account.
We can confirm your account associated with **** has not been banned. Please be assured that all your gameplay progress has NOT been lost. It remains safe and intact.
For help logging back into your account, please follow the troubleshooting steps in our [Help Center](https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/hc/articles/224047008).
If you’re still unable to login to your account, please let us know. We’re happy to help.”
I then responded explaining my issue and what I had tried to fix it and asked for more help. The response included the following statement:
“I had a check and am unable to find a Pokémon GO account associated with the email address (my email address) or the Trainer nickname SmarmyNarwhal*. Please* re-submit a request and provide the correct email address and nickname associated with your high level Pokémon GO account.”
I explained to the support staff that my account did exist, I had receipts for coins it had bought, and included screenshots of my account name as it appeared on my friends’ lists. Their response:
“We had re-checked the screenshot with the Nickname ‘SmarmyNarwhal‘ and I’m afraid, we are unable to pull-up any account. This can happen if the Nickname is already changed.
Hence, kindly take your time and provide the correct email address and recent nickname of your account. Once you get back, we will assist you accordingly.”
After this they simply stopped responding. I spammed the Niantic support with emails and kept getting bounced to the ban appeal link because I mentioned that I appealed. I sent them some strong words and finally got redirected with this email:
“I am sending this email to inform you that your ticket has been escalated to the team that can best respond to your inquiry. One of our helpful team members will be in touch shortly.”
I didn’t receive a response for 4 days (2 business days) so I sent another email. By now it had already been 2 weeks. What followed was two more months of email tag with a Niantic Operations Manager and no results. They would stall me, tell me there was no progress yet and was never asked for more details or given any details about the situation. For those of you that complain that they were told by Niantic “we currently don’t know how to solve your issue,” be thankful that you received an honest response.
After some promises of a fix and then some delays, I was able to log into my account again on November 30. That’s 81 days after my issue began. When I complained about the lack of transparency and that I wanted to know what caused the issue, this was the response:
“I’m so sorry I don’t know the details. Wish I could share more. What I do know is that whatever was impacting your account was resolved for all accounts that were affected in this way.”
So, this is not the first time that this has happened, it affected multiple accounts, and it was fixed. I also received this gem which you might find interesting:
“Although this one was out of our hands, I’m adding 800 PokéCoins to your account for the long delay.”
I don’t know what “out of our hands” means and I never asked, but do with that information what you will.
Looks like a recurrence of the same issue and the compensation of a mere 800 Pokecoins is rather low for such a major problem.
So, what seems to be causing the bug? That’s tough to say but trawling through reddit, I noticed another thread collecting data on game accessibility, which I’ve linked here . This seems to be a move in the right direction. If it can be traced to that, then good. It could simply be a case of the log in method not linking to the server properly and thus failing to get game data which leads to people thinking their accounts are gone.
Some people have also reported in another thread that they now have access to their accounts after seemingly losing them. Is Niantic fixing them or is it a bug that has seemingly died down? Right now, its tough to say as it’s been barely 24 hours since this issue has gained attention. Whatever it is, be careful and wary of how it is.
While some people report fixes, others have yet to regain access to their accounts. Its a terrible thing to experience, to spend so much time and money into it and then not be able to play because of some server side issue. Niantic hasn’t been consistent in their response but I can only hope affected players get a resolution as soon as possible.