Pokémon Go Cheaters Face Three Strikes Before Being Pummeled With Ban Hammer

Three strikes and you’re Meowth! Niantic has just released a new three-strike discipline policy for their poplar game Pokémon Go. The policy is intended to crack down on the many creative ways of cheating in the game.

Niantic defines cheating as downloading and using “modified or unofficial software”, playing with multiple accounts, sharing accounts, selling or trading accounts, and/or using tools that lie about your current location. The developer recognizes that its definition will likely need to change since “methods of cheating, unfortunately, are limited only by cheaters’ imaginations.” Players can also receive disciplinary action for harassing other players, posting videos or photos of another gamer without their consent, or posting pornography, obscenities, or hate speech.

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Niantic’s new disciplinary systems starts by warning a player and ends with banning them. When a player receives their “first strike”, they will see a warning message when they first open the game. They will be unable to encounter rare Pokémon in the wild or receive new EX Raid Passes for seven days. If a player receives a second strike, they will lose access to their account for 30 days. They will receive a message announcing their suspension when they next open the game and will be unable to bypass it. A player will be permanently banned from the game if they receive a third strike.

Niantic also noted that some players will be outright banned from the game for “some misbehaviors”. They did not state what those “misbehaviors” are. It does appear, however, that the strike system is intended for those who make “mistakes”, not for malicious behavior.

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Niantic’s clarification of their disciplinary system comes on the heels of several new features in Pokémon Go. This past year Pokémon Go released “Field” and “Special” Research that helps players earn rewards or catch rare Pokémon. Trainers are tasked with a variety of objectives such as winning Gym Battles or walking a certain distance with their Buddy Pokémon.

This past June Niantic enabled Friends Lists and Friendship Levels. Trainers are now able to send gifts, trade Pokémon, and battle with their friends. The higher a pair’s Friendship Level, the more trading, gifting, and battling benefits they will receive.

In light of Pokémon Go’s many new features, it is easy to see how cheating could really cheapen the fun of the game. Let’s hope that Niantic’s disciplinary system will discourage cheaters.