Players of the new online gaming sensation Pokemon Go were disappointed to find that they couldn’t get online over the weekend, and a hacking group claimed responsibility for the outage.

Now the same hackers have promised a far larger attack in two weeks time. PoodleCorp, as the hackers are known on Twitter, say that they brought the Pokemon Go servers down over the weekend and have threatened to do so on a larger scale on August 1.

Pokemon Go Nintendo
Image Credit: Nintendo

PoodleCorp hackers promise another attack on Pokemon Go

This weekend’s attack bore many similarities to the Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack which brought down both Sony’s PlayStation Network and Xbox Live on Christmas Day in 2014. It sounds as though it will not be the last that we hear from PoodleCorp.

“Just was a lil [sic] test, we will do something on a larger scale soon,” said Twitter user XO, who says they are the leader of PoodleCorp.

The next day the PoodleCorp published a tweet which read: “August 1st #PoodleCorp #PokémonGo.”

Server troubles reported due to heavy traffic

Players of Pokemon Go have reported trouble connecting to the game. The servers have been struggling to deal with high volumes of traffic after the launch of Pokemon Go in the United States, Australia and New Zealand two weeks ago.

The full release of the game was delayed until developers Niantic Labs were confident that there would be no issue dealing with traffic. Niantic, a Google startup that spun-out in 2015, blamed this weekend’s outage on the high number of downloads for the game.

“Due to the incredible number of Pokémon Go downloads, some Trainers are experiencing server connectivity issues,” read a message on the company website this weekend. “Don’t worry, our team is on it.”

However PoodleCorp maintains that it was responsible for the attack. The group says that it is associated with the well-known hacking crew known as Lizard Squad.

PoodleCorp apparently formed as “a combined group of Lizard Squad and other members that weren’t in groups to combine a super group for this summer.” The group has claimed responsibility for attacks on League of Legends and famous YouTube video makers such as Leafy and h3h3 Productions.

Hackers used botnet to bring down popular game

Alleged leader XO told Drama Alert, a YouTube news channel, that: “Chaos is entertainment and we like making people angry.”

“We will be taking down all of the servers of Pokémon Go all day long for 24 hours on August 1,” he said.

XO says that the servers were taken down using traffic generated by a “very big botnet,” which is a network of computers controlled by cyber criminals after infecting them with malware. “We have various devices, pretty much all of the internet,” continued XO.

While some commentators claim that PoodleCorp was not responsible for the attack, the group claims that it has proof. Looking at the time stamp of its posts on Twitter, the group says that it claims the attack was due to a malicious attack before the servers went down.

XO then issued a stark warning to players of the game. “Find something else to do because if that’s all you have to do you need a life,” he said.

Nintendo share price rockets

The game has been a roaring success since a few days after its release. The augmented reality game lets players catch the characters from the original Pokemon series in their own neighborhood, encouraging players to explore their local area in the hope of stumbling across wild Pokemon that they can then catch and add to their collection.

While the premise seems childish to some, it has proven to be wildly popular. There are now far more users of Pokemon Go than the hugely popular dating app Tinder, and the game later surpassed Twitter and Facebook in terms of user engagement.

Niantic, Nintendo and the Pokemon company all collaborated on the game. Nintendo was struggling before the release, but its share price has since increased by 90%. Nintendo owns 32% of Pokemon Go and has added $17 billion in market value in the two weeks since its release.

The popularity of the game doesn’t look like dropping off just yet, with the streets full of gamers young and old(er) chasing Pokemon. Countless think pieces have appeared online bemoaning the fact that grown adults have nothing better to do than chase augmented reality creatures, but that doesn’t seem to have put people off.

If you are tempted to get involved you might want to do so before August 1, when PoodleCorp promises a far larger attack.