Finally, the news that we've all been waiting for, Niantic, the developer behind Ingress and Pokemon Go is putting their foot down and is now issuing permanent bans to players who violate its terms of service. Though TOS violations vary, these bans appear to be directed at cheaters who rely on GPS spoofing, bots, and other software techniques that allow Pokémon Go to be played beyond the realm of Niantic's design parameters. For instance, GPS spoofing lets you trick a smartphone into thinking you're located in a different country, allowing you to catch pokémon that may be more easily located in that area or restricted to certain regions. Bots, on the other hand, let you automate portions of the game.
In a note posted to its website that was spotted earlier, Niantic outlines violations of its TOS that can result in a permanent ban. "This includes, but is not limited to: falsifying your location, using emulators, modified or unofficial software and/or accessing Pokémon Go clients or backends in an unauthorized manner including through the use of third party software," the note reads. "Our goal is to provide a fair, fun and legitimate game experience for everyone. We will continue to work with all of you to improve the quality of the gameplay, including ongoing optimization and fine tuning of our anti-cheat system." The company includes a link to an appeal form for trying to reverse a ban if it was issued by mistake.
|Spotted! 2 Cheaters chilling in a CyberCafe but protecting their PokeGym at KLCC.|
It's still unclear how Niantic is going about detecting the use of GPS spoofing, emulators, bots, and other hacks. A number of threads on Reddit's Pokémon Go developer community, where much of the discussion around these techniques takes place, have popped up in the last two days. It seems users cannot seem to lock down what exactly results in a ban and how Niantic's internal systems may be seeking out cheating behavior.
It appears users have been receiving various levels of bans for quite some time. But this new permanent ban has the community advising its members not to use third-party application programming interfaces (APIs). Many of the makers of the game's most popular APIs have been sent cease and desist letters from The Pokémon Company over the course of the last two weeks as well. So it appears the company is increasing its efforts to crackdown on the kind of Pokémon Go playing it deems unsavory.
If you think a player is spoofing/cheating in the game, why not help Niantic out by reporting using this simple URL: http://tiny.cc/fuckspoofers . Just make sure you have the screenshot/proof to attach with your report for the developer to take action. Since the launch a week ago, we've seen numerous reports submitted, especially on the first day itself, so keep them coming, keep the cheaters at bay and keep the game fun for everyone else.