Many of us are used to Pokémon Go mania by now: it’s hard not to notice the sidewalks teeming with packs of children and adults chasing virtual creatures on their smartphone screens. The success of the game has been attributed to its nostalgic appeal and the fact that, well, it’s fun. It seems strange then, that some would prefer not to actually venture outside and revel in their childhood dreams, but rather purchase a beefed up account online.
anyone have a pokemon go account theyll sell me? level 20 and over only.
— Lite (@LiteGamingHD) August 1, 2016
And yet, that’s exactly what’s happening. Pokémon Go accounts are popping up on eBay, and parts of auctioning sites are dedicated to bidding on them. Take for example, a player from Canada who’s selling a level 25 account for $100, a level 30 account for $400, and a level 35 for $1000. The prices vary wildly based on where you go: for example, one site is offering a level 32 account for just $60. Just how honest these sellers are is questionable; while eBay has buyer protection when paying with Paypal, other sites may require more trust.
So, should you set off to sell your Pokémon Go account? Is the potential profit actually worth your time?
Calculating the real value of a Pokémon Go account can be complicated: experience points (XP), which are used to level up, can be accumulated at different rates depending on your strategy. It also becomes exponentially harder to level up the longer you play. For instance, it takes 45,000 XP to reach level 10, but as soon as you hit level 20, it’ll take another 50,000 XP just to reach level 21.
Some account sellers are attaining high-level accounts without doing the work themselves by using computer programs called ‘bots’ that automatically fake the location of the accounts, collect Pokémon in far away places, and gather PokéBalls from various PokéStops. That allows them to collect a ton of Pokémon at a rate much faster than someone who walks around actually playing the game.
But if you prefer to set forth on your venture the old-fashioned way, you can collect up to 100,000 XP a day.
This seems like a lot, but it can be managed by using an optimal strategy of gathering a bunch of low-level Pokemon and evolving them all at once, for 1,000 XP an evolution, using a Lucky Egg item which doubles XP for a short period. You can buy a Lucky Egg for about $1.11 (assuming you buy 100 PokeCoins for $1.39), or you can wait until you’re rewarded one at level nine in the game.
We’ll have to make the assumption that the going market price for a level 25 Pokemon Go account is $100. According to various sources from data-savvy players, you’ll need 710,000 XP to get there. At 100,000 XP a day, it’ll take around seven days to have enough points to sell and make $100. Of course, this is a best-case scenario, where you’re working hard all day picking up Pidgeys and Weedles.
Before you begin planning your fledgling Pokémon-based enterprise, you should keep in mind that Pokémon Go’s creator, Niantic, Inc. isn’t going to just let you buy and sell accounts like you’re at a supermarket—the game’s Terms of Service specifically prohibit you from selling or renting your account. They can also “remove or disable access to any Content, at any time and without notice” or, in other words, ban your account at a whim.
Between the meagre income and the threat of being banned, it’s not ideal to quit your day job and become a full-time Pokémon hunter. However, if you’ve grown your Pokémon Go account into something glorious but have decided to retire from the game, you may be able to find another player willing to take it off your hands for some cash.