Pokemon GO cheaters are having a hard time

Niantic soft banning cheaters who spoofs their GPS location

BY AMIT BARAN ROY   |   Niantic’s latest augmented reality game Pokemon GO is on a massive roll since its launch in US, Australia and New Zealand last week. The game has been raising money and growing its players base at an exceeding rate. It has already made over $14M revenue and added over $7.5 billion to Nintendo’s market value. It has also been reported that the game has surpassed Twitter in terms of daily active users and receiving much more engagement than Facebook. Its obvious that the game will be breaking more records as the term Pokemon is attracting players from every corner of the world. But with such rising player count, there is also a rise in the number of cheaters who are trying to spoof their GPS location to try and catch Pokemon in other cities, fight Gym battles and visit Pokestops by easily sitting in their homes. These cheaters are mostly the trainers who are dwelling in smaller cities and towns that lack a high density of Pokemons, Pokestops and Gyms. But Niantic has no soft corner for such lazy trainers and are punishing them by a soft ban for now.

Players on reddit have tried to experiment with the game’s anti-spoofing system by self-forcing a soft ban in one of their useless account. They have found that if you try spoofing your GPS location, you trigger an automatic soft ban. A soft ban will not let you catch any Pokemon and if you throw Pokeballs at them, they will simply run away. Also, you will not be able to buy any items from Pokestops and neither can you fight battles or claim any Gym. However, such a ban is temporary and may last for less than an hour or may extend upto three hours according to some users.

Interestingly, such spoofing during the game’s Beta stage triggered a harder ban from Niantic. Also, players who are acquainted with the game Ingress, will know that how hard Niantic can go on issuing bans. In Ingress, if players were caught spoofing their GPS location, received a perma ban that used to last for several months. Players had to request Niantic for revoking their bans which may or may not be granted by Niantic according to circumstances. For a perma ban, one needed to create a new Google account and start playing the game from scratch losing all their stats and achievements. While Pokemon GO is at a nascent stage and doing great in just over a week of its launch, Niantic may not want to disappoint players with such hard punishments. But spoofers should be aware that an increasing number of soft bans can raise eyebrows and trigger a perma ban eventually (we still don’t know that yet).

Earlier, it has also been reported that Pokemon GO players were using hacks, drones and cheating tools to bypass their walking. This led to a mass agony in the Pokemon GO subreddit. It is advised to play fair and don’t adopt illegal means to ruin the harmony that lies within the game. You will only end up spoiling your own gaming experience if you fail to abide by the Pokemon Go rules which clearly states-

Don’t do it. Play fair. Pokémon GO is meant to be played on a mobile device and get you outside to explore your world! Methods of cheating, unfortunately, are limited only by cheaters’ imaginations, but include at a minimum the following: using modified or unofficial software; playing with multiple accounts (one account per player, please); sharing accounts; using tools or techniques to alter or falsify your location; or selling/trading accounts.

If you are new to Pokemon Go, you can catch up with all the basic things that you need to know to play the game in our Beginner’s wiki guide.

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