If you’re cheating at Pokemon Go just to catch ’em all—either to brag to your friends or to maintain complete lordship over your local gyms—you should feel bad. In fact, we’re willing to bet that you do feel bad or, at least, will feel bad soon, as developer Niantic is now starting to permanently ban cheaters.
Don’t take your smartphone off your turntable (or ceiling fan) just yet, though. While that technically breaks the spirit of the game, Niantic isn’t going after those who have found more creative ways to “walk” and hatch Pokemon eggs within the mobile app. The developer’s latest efforts appear to be targeting those who spoof their locations using GPS hacks to catch many more Pokemon than they should be able to from the comfort of their homes—or to catch Pokemon outside of their region. Niantic is also allegedly going after those who are using bots to play the game on their behalf.
“Your account was permanently terminated for violations of the Pokémon GO Terms of Service. 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,” reads a description on Niantic’s new “Submit a ban appeal” site.
“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. If you believe your account has been terminated in error incorrectly, you can appeal that termination through this form. For privacy reasons, please do not post appeals on social media.”
We recommend that you not connect your Pokemon Go account to any third-party websites that promise some kind of automation or Pokemon hunting tie-in, like Pokemon Go Nexus or PoGoBag. As Niantic has shown, the developer isn’t the biggest fan of other websites that simplify your Pokemon experience, and you could find your account on the other end of a banhammer if you’re caught.