Abuse Of User Reported Pokemon Go Bans Could Harm Pokemon Go In A Big Way

Posted: Aug 16 2016, 4:22am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 16 2016, 2:30pm CDT, in News | Technology News


Abuse of User Reported Pokemon Go Bans Could Harm Pokemon Go in a Big Way

Niantic continues to permanently ban trainers that use bots or cheat with other tools.

Niantic continues to permanently banning Pokemon Go cheaters since last week. Initially it was expected that the bans would be a huge wave, but the reality is that Niantic is banning bot users and GPS spoofers in a relative slow pace. It appears that Niantic does not have a scalable detection mechanism to spot accounts that are generated with bots.

Bot use in Pokemon Go is out of control. There are millions of trainers that use them. Many of the players that employ bots have multiple Pokemon Go accounts. Some even run dozens of profiles. It has kind of become normal to own a legit Pokemon Go account and at least one or more botted profiles.

Reports of bans continue to surface on a continuous basis since last week. The exact mechanics behind getting banned are still unclear. Some trainers report that only a subset of their bot accounts got banned. 

Based on the slow pace of bans, Niantic is using a combination of tools and support personal to make the decision to ban an account. Another way to get banned is when other trainers report an account as suspicious. There are several reports that an account got banned when several trainers report it.

Reddit user Splus3v3 reports that he tested to get his legit account banned by asking three friends to report it to Niantic. If Niantic does not verify user reported accounts before banning it can lead to a war amongst teams reporting each others accounts to be banned. Here is another report of a trainer with a legit account that got banned, because of a battle over a gym. The "winners" just reported his strong account and Niantic banned it.

Update: Another Pokemon Go trainer is "donating" an Pokemon Go account to find out how many user reports it takes to get it banned. Experiment runs in this reddit thread. The test is flawed in the sense that banning seems to be automated, but does not run in real-time. There is likely scheduled run on user reports to figure out which accounts should be banned. Right now 20 poeple have reported that account to Niantic.

If Niantic does not find a solid way to distinct between botted and legit accounts, maybe it is time for a drastic measure and reset the whole game. Every trainer gets his money back and all trainer accounts start with an empty Pokedex. The reset can only happen once Niantic made sure that no 3rd party software can connect again to the Pokemon Go servers. What do you think about a "Pokemon Go reset?"

After the server scalability issues in the first days and weeks, the banning of cheaters shapes up to the next big challenge for Niantic.

Pokemon Go is played by over 100 million people world-wide. The augmented reality game is available in about 80 countries so far. 

As long as the in-app Pokemon Go tracker is not released you can find Pokemon with these maps, trackers and alerts. Find great gifts for Pokemon Go fans in our Pokemon Go Gift Guide and read the latest Pokemon Go News.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi Lugmayr () is the founding chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml@i4u.com.




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