There is quite a lot of talk regarding the Pokemon Go servers at the moment. With frequent downtime and unplanned maintenance hitting both the login servers and the game servers, they can be very frustrating for some players. I heard about one player who took a two-hour train journey to his nearest City (rural player) only to find the servers were down for 4 hours! That's a lot of time and money wasted without any prior warning from Niantic. We have found some details about how the servers work and what may be causing the recent downtime.
Our research at PokeGoStat.us will hopefully clear up some myths. We’ve spent hours reviewing and researching some of the technologies surrounding the Pokemon Go app to find out more details and bring you the latest details.
What happens when you open the Pokemon Go App?
When you first open up the app, the first set of services you will encounter are the login servers. You will either login with a Google account, which means you pass through Google's extremely stable servers; or you will login with a PTC account which are routed through The Pokemon Company's infamous and sometimes sluggish servers.
After login, the second set of servers are the Pokemon Go game servers. We've found that at any time there can be around 600 - 900 servers…however appear to all be located in the US. Yes, that's a single region. Not spread across the world. They are most likely all in the same datacenter too, which would most likely be a Google Cloud datacenter.
We worked out the location by pinging all the servers every minute for the past few weeks, collecting all the pings in our database (which is used for the graphs on our home page and server status page) and spending many hours analyzing the data. Since we launched this site, there's over 10 million records in our database. We are hoping to release some more graphs and infographics around this data in the near future to take a deep dive on game scaling and architecture.
What are the symptoms of the Pokemon Go servers having issues?
When the Pokemon Go servers run into trouble (or overloading), there's various issues players face when playing the game. If you successfully login but hit a stuck loading screen or experience very, very slow responses in-game. This is most likely because you have joined a server that is under high load/having problems. If you log out, and log back in again, you may be randomly assigned to a new server. If there's a lot of servers under high load, it may take a few tries to get on a server without heavy load. Patience and Persistence!
Another problem is when you simply can't login to Pokemon Go. Generally, this occurs when the login servers are either down, under high load or experiencing maintenance. This can be very frustrating for PTC players in particular, as there have been a lot of problems with the PTC login servers. Unfortunately, at this time, there is no way to transfer your account to a Google account, so the only option for PTC players is to wait for these servers to come back online. Our real-time update page is perfect for checking up on that.
Why are the PTC login servers down so often?
Our educated guess is it may be due to websites like Pokevision sending an unnecessary number of requests to the Pokemon Go Servers, APIs and generally causing scale problems for Niantic. You may have noticed that whenever the PTC login servers are down, Pokevision is down. This is because Pokevision connects to the Pokemon Go API via the PTC authentication servers and every time someone goes on their website it may be re-authenticating. If you multiply this by the Pokevision refresh time (30 seconds), this likely generates millions of additional requests to the PTC login server.
However, it's probably not Pokevision that is causing the core of the problem, they probably have a much more efficient way to query the servers. It's more likely all the copycat websites that don't really know what they're doing causing the problems.
Japan release server boost
One thing we noticed during the Japan release an extra 100 servers appeared for around 10 hours. We've not seen this appear since. As the servers were under high load and producing odd results, by example, we couldn't tell where they were located. It's entirely possible that when more Asian countries are released, that some Asian servers may appear.
Hope you enjoyed reading this brain dump, it should hopefully give you some insight into the Pokemon Go Server downtime issues and problems you see using the app. Keep in mind our methods are from the outside looking in to the Pokemon Go servers and you should do more of your own research before finalizing your own opinion. Till next time.