It’s been a bad year for anyone who wants to trade in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Since this spring, one hacker has rendered these 3DS games’ Global Trade System nearly unusable, as hacked pokémon they uploaded cause players’ hardware to freeze upon trying to access the GTS.
As of the time of this publication, Nintendo has yet to regain control of its trading system from the rogue hacker, and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This isn’t the first time that Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon players have been struggling with hackers. One hacker, known as AdventrSnivy, would continually offer hacked trades that would fail halfway, resulting in the unsuspecting player’s ban. Another, who goes by Japan.Kebuju, is causing the current crisis in Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon, as their hacked pokémon will freeze players’ consoles if scrolled past in the GTS UI. Players who encounter this error are forced to restart their hardware. Over the past six months, Japan.Kebuju’s generated so many hacked listings that players on Reddit have been calling the GTS “unusable.”
Why is the GTS important? Completing the Alolan Pokédex is the only way for players to obtain the Shiny Charm, which is an item that raises the encounter rate of rare shiny pokémon. As ever, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon also include version-exclusives, so trading is the only way to obtain certain pokémon from either game. So far, the only completely safe option seems to be trading in person, which is fairly impractical for many players, particularly since Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are older games released in 2017.
Wonder Trade, a 3DS-era system in which players can trade pokémon randomly with one another, has also been compromised by Japan.Kebuju. Despite both being compromised, players have said that the WT system is safer than the GTS, so Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon players have the unenviable choice between risking the GTS freezing or subsisting on only random pokémon from WT.
Players are understandably upset at the hacker, but have also complained that the developers have done nothing to ban Japan.Kebuju from trading in GTS. Their cynicism isn’t unfounded. Nintendo is infamously bad at supporting older games, which is a huge problem when a game has an online component...which Nintendo isn’t all great at either. Even the GTS itself has had many past run-ins with hackers, with little official resolution.
Hopefully, nobody tells the hackers about Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.