Niantic introduces permanent account bans for trainers using bots, location fakers and other tools that are against the Terms of Services of Pokemon Go.
Niantic is taking the next steps to stop Pokemon Go cheating. The company is now enforcing permanent account terminations. A new support page has been released that details what can cause to get your Pokemon Go account banned permanently. There have been reports of soft bans in the past weeks, but now things get real for users of bots and other cheating tools.
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Niantic defines as violation of the terms of services of Pokemon Go: "Actions that include, but are 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."
This means if you use a Pokemon Go bot, a jailbroken phone with a GPS location manipulator, or even real-time Pokemon Go tracker, you can be banned permanently from Pokemon Go. You lose your Pokedex and would have to sign-up with a new gmail account or Pokemon Trainer club account to play Pokemon Go again.
Niantic offers a form to appeal a permanent account ban. The Pokemon Go appeal form is available here. The form requires your email address, nick name and a description of your request. The form is Niantic's basic support request form.
There are no practical tips yet on how you would formulate your appeal to get your Pokemon Go account enabled again. As soon as Niantic will kick off a ban wave, we will learn about how Niantic is dealing with cheaters. Maybe the Niantic is giving them a second chance. The have watch though the cheating going on now for over a month.
The goal of Niantic is to provide a "fair, fun and legitimate game experience for everyone." The company plans to works with trainer to improve the quality of the gameplay, including ongoing optimization and fine tuning of the Pokemon Go anti-cheat system.
So far the soft bans that trainers encountered only lasted a couple of hours. During that time they could not catch Pokemon and use PokeStops. A soft ban gets lifted automatically. A permanent ban means that you lose your account and all the work or cheating you put into it.
John Hanke said in response on Twitter to target Pokemon Go players that use fake GPS locations.
If you are using GPS location spoofing, now is a good time to stop. Niantic is a fan of Friday launches. The permanent bans could hit as soon as today. There have been occasional permanent account bans already in July. It is not an entirely new thing. What is likely to happen now is that Niantic is preparing to go against cheaters in a massive way to clean up the game.
Niantic has in the past two weeks taken other means to stop the proliferation of cheating software by sending legal letters and increasing the security of the Pokemon Go server communication. The 3rd party developers have though upgraded their tools to access the data again on Pokemon Go servers. With the permanent ban looming, you might want to hold off using any unofficial tool and just use the community data driven Pokemon Go maps.
Niantic continues to target developers of Pokemon APIs and Pokemon Go bots with legal threats. NecroBot just closed down its GitHub page. The NecroBot team states that they had 500,000 downloads of their Pokemon Go bot per day. This means that millions of Pokemon Go trainers are using bots to cheat in Pokemon Go. This also means that millions are at risk to get permanently banned. The takeaway is: Stop using Pokemon Go bots now.
Update: Pokemon Go bot users have already started to get permanently banned. Several threads on reddit have popped up with reports about a new type of account ban. It is not epidemic yet, but it has started over the past hours. GPS spoofing seems to be the main reason. Some say GPS spoofing should be no reason to get banned. Some trainers use it to teleport to cities from their rural home. The issue of low number of Pokemon on the country side is though something Niantic needs to address. There should be not fewer Pokemon on farm than in Central Park, New York.
In the end GPS Spoofing in Pokemon Go needs to be banned, but as with Tinder, Niantic likely will sell you the means to teleport to any location you want. Look out for Pokemon Go Pro in the near future.
There is no argument that "botting" should not be banned. To use a bot to automate the Pokemon Go gameplay is strict cheating. Bots can create accounts with high levels and optimized Pokedex. This harms the game, as bots give players an huge unfair advantage over trainers that play the game honest.
Update: Trainers that hold down a Gym with an account created with bots are at higher risk to get banned.
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Niantic is testing right now with select users an in-app Pokemon Go finder. The nearby Pokemon Go tracker will be released soon to everyone, making the need for 3rd party tools much less important. More Pokemon Go News.