If you start gamifying app features, no matter how ostensibly beneficial, then you should expect players to abuse them. Pokémon Sleep is supposed to help people focus on achieving a better night’s sleep, but players have already figured out the oldest trick in the book as a means of grabbing the app’s most sought creatures, a Snorlax with a nightcap usable in Pokémon Go.
The Pokémon Sleep app incentivizes players to nap for at least 90 minutes, and doing so using the Go Plus+ peripheral allows them access to items inside Pokémon Go. As first noted by EuroGamer, Redditors figured out they could simply change the date on their phones to bypass the need to actually sleep. After all, why sleep when there’s Pokémon to farm?
Players would need to track sleep using the Pokémon GO Plus+ peripheral seven days in a row to access a 1106 CP Komala and the cute, sleep cap-bedecked 1382 CP Snorlax. Every week after that where they use the app offers users another encounter with the sleeping giant. Players can access a total of five of these exploitable Snorlaxs through the combination of apps and peripherals. As Reddit users noted, each of these encounters offers the chance of finding a special “shiny” nightcap Snorlax.
The Pokémon Go Plus+ device is supposed to allow players to capture Pokémon without having to open the app and actually—you know—play the game. The peripheral also acts as a stand-in for a phone when used for the Sleep app. The device is also supposed to sing players “lullabies” and act as the user’s morning alarm that’s set through the app.
The exploit is reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, where players could defeat one of the bosses by simply waiting a week. Players instead simply changed the PlayStation 2 clock to read one week later. Unlike that game, the whole point of this similar exploit is to simply farm creatures for the sake of the Pokémon ARG.
The game is set up to reward players for “Drowsy Power” for getting a resting well, letting them encounter various Pokémon in your campsite and fill up your Pokédex. You’re then meant to feed the in-game Snorlax during the day like an all-digital Tamagotchi, and the cycle continues. Users can also use the app to learn their sleep habits, such as how much they toss and turn in their sleep. Users can even listen to a recording of their snoozing to finally gauge the number of sleep farts they perform each night.
The long-awaited Pokémon Sleep is already a hellscape of monetisation schemes. There’s an option to buy a $US10 Premium Pass monthly subscription for accessing unlimited sleep records and a sleep diary. There’s also plenty of microtransactions to buy items that, for example, expand your Pokémon or item boxes in-game. It’s the ever-present problem of these kinds of apps that intend for players to get a better night’s sleep, but promise them more booty for every time they use the app.
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