‘Pokemon Go’ is Punishing Cheaters in Creative New Ways

Ever since Pokemon Go was released last Summer, there’s been a debate about what constitutes “cheating.” The online communities of Reddit and The Silph Road seem to have agreed that using third party maps is not cheating, but using any kind of GPS spoofing technology to “jump” to gyms and rare spawns is playing unfair, along with using multiple accounts. Of course, many of those third-party tracking apps use bot accounts to scan for nearby Pokemon.

Developers Niantic have been playing a constant cat-and-mouse game trying to keep the cheaters at bay, including banning some accounts in the past. Now, however, they have apparently added a much more frustrating punishment. Some users across the various Pokemon Go online communities are reporting that their account can no longer see rare spawns (Dratini, Larvitar, Snorlax, etc). Instead their trackers and game map are filled with nothing but ultra common (and useless) Pidgey and Rattata.

Niantic haven’t officially commented either way on a rare spawn ban, but the internet is already piling up evidence to support it, including side-by-side shots of different accounts (one that is supposedly flagged, and the other not). Even users who insist they haven’t cheated are affected, although Niantic also frowns on logging in to third-party apps or overlays that check Pokemon IVs (individual stats that indicate how strong the Pokemon is overall).

Many of the most popular online maps are currently down, or at least not working properly. There’s no word on whether this ban on rare Pokemon spawns in temporary or permanent. There are whispers, however, that the game will introduce legendaries soon (possibly this summer). A crackdown on users who “teleport” to a rare spawn point from the comfort of their own couch could be part of their preparations.

Devon Taylor (@DevonTaylor113)

Devon Taylor (@DevonTaylor113)

Devon has been writing about random things online since 2013. His favorite video game is Rocket League, his favorite TV show is The Sopranos, and he hated the last season of Game of Thrones. Follow him @DevonTaylor113.