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Pokemon Go: Niantic Punishes 5 Million Cheaters

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The interesting history of Pokemon hit another milestone this year with its 25th Anniversary. Nintendo took this opportunity to host an event to mark the occasion. As part of this event, 3 new Pokemon games were announced to be released very soon. However, away from the celebrations, there was some interesting news for the popular Pokemon Go series. Pokemon Go developer, Niantic, announced that it has punished 5 million players for cheating. It is part of an attempt by the developer to make the game fairer. They said:

“We are committed to ensuring fair gameplay across our game portfolio. Every day newer forms of cheating or spoofing tools are made available on the internet, and we are continuously working to combat these cheaters and focus on improving our detection and enforcement; as they have no place in our games.”

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What action has been taken against the Pokemon cheaters?

In their post, Niantic also confirmed that they have acted against 5 million players across their games. The games affected included Pokemon Go, Ingress and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite). As a result, Niantic gave permanent bans to 20% of the 5 million players. The remaining cheaters are likely to have received warnings or temporary bans. The action taken builds on Niantic’s mission of promoting fair gameplay. They believe that their response is having a material impact with 90% of players stopping cheating after their first warning. However. Niantic also confirmed that they will continue to invest in new technology to better detect cheating players.

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What were the cheaters doing?

Niantic are reluctant to release too many details on what cheating has occurred. They fear that this could tip off cheaters and help them avoid detection in the future. However, they did confirm that many of the cheaters have been using spoofing tools. Spoofing tools allow players to make the game think that they are somewhere else. In Pokemon Go, for example, this would allow them to travel huge distances without ever leaving their current location. This could give a player an edge in catching rare Pokemon or defeating gyms that are nowhere near them.

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