Since Pokémon Go launched last week, players have used drones and different hacking methods to help speed up their progress in the game and get out of earnestly playing day in and out. Now, almost two weeks after the game was released, marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist, as well as social sites like Facebook, have become flooded with players offering to sell their accounts featuring rare and high-level Pokémon for more than $100.
On Reddit, players who decided to purchase the accounts cited geographical restrictions as one of the main reasons for doing so. It's been reported that players who live in rural or suburban areas don't have access to the amount of Pokémon that those in densely populated cities, like New York City, do. There's also far less PokéStops, and because of the smaller number of players spread out over larger terrain, there are less lures being dropped.
On sites like eBay, accounts sitting at level 14 were going for $100, while an account listed at level 15 was selling for $175. While there are a few bids on some of the lower-priced accounts, including $50 accounts sitting at level 10, Niantic Labs, the developer behind the game, has explicitly said this is considered cheating. On the trainer's guidelines page on its site, Niantic has asked players not to get involved with the buying or selling of accounts and players could see a soft ban if they're caught logging in with another Gmail address.
Pokémon Go is hardly the first game players have sold their accounts in, but according to PlayerUp's CEO Eric Schweitzer, it is one of the fastest. Schweitzer told Wired that he's never seen the level of attention paid to a game in its early stages as much as Pokémon Go. Schweitzer said that if Niantic and The Pokémon Company continued to make improvements to the game — like fixing server issues the game faces daily — and update it, the popularity of the title could last another few years.
Pokémon Go is currently available in various countries around the world, with Niantic promising to have the game rolled out to other regions as soon as server problems are fixed. For the best tips and tricks for playing, check out Polygon's handy guide here.