Niantic, the company behind the insanely popular game Pokémon Go, has the most brilliant way to troll anyone who cheats in the game.
Ever since the inception of Pokémon Go, there were ways to find lucrative Pokémon without having to walk miles around your neighborhood. At first, we had third-party apps that let you see all the Pokémon around you, their exact locations, and for how long they were there; however, Niantic soon removed those. In fact, using third-party software violates Niantic’s terms of service and could get your account completely banned.
As Niantic implemented more rigid rules to address cheating in the game, people found more creative ways to find workarounds: for instance, creating bot accounts to scan nearby areas in order to spot and notify rare Pokémon. Well, the American software development company is fighting fire with fire. According to discussions on The Silph Road, a Pokémon Go subreddit, Niantic has begun “shadowbanning” bot accounts, cheats, and so-called scanners.
Essentially, if you are suspected of cheating and are subsequently flagged by the game’s system, you will only be able to see common Pokémon.
Essentially, if you are suspected of cheating and are subsequently flagged by the game’s system, you will only be able to see common Pokémon. In other words, you won’t even know that you’ve been flagged until you catch a Rattata for the 50th time in a row.
According to the Reddit thread, the new anti-bot trolling by Niantic seems to target primarily illicit bot accounts; users who rely on GPS manipulation may or may not be affected by this. However, the company has previously stated that it is aware of users manipulating GPS locations in order to cheat the system, so it is possible that Niantic’s shadowbanning might expand beyond just bot accounts in the near future.
So far, it’s unclear just how Niantic identifies and flags bot accounts, but those on The Silph Road seem confident that they will be able to backtrack the system and find a way to bypass it. Whether Niantic’s move will have a lasting impact on cheats and black market users remains to be seen, but it certainly is a brilliant one, reaffirming the company’s stance on illegitimate players.