Pokémon Go developer Niantic is cracking down on players that are using bots or programs that alter GPS locations. If you’re caught using one of these services, you could face a permanent ban, according to a new post in the FAQ section of the game’s official website.
Using third party software is against Pokémon Go’s terms of service. On its website, Niantic states that you can face a permanent ban by “falsifying your location, using emulators, modified or unofficial software and/or accessing Pokémon GO clients or backends in an unauthorized manner including through the use of third party software.”
In response, several bot programs including NecroBot are shutting down as they claim Niantic is sending out cease and desist letters. “Due to legal action being started against other bot creators/devs (we did not receive a letter yet) the Project development will be stopped,” writes the creators of NecroBot on GitHub as they close shop. We have reached out to Niantic to confirm whether these have in fact been sent out.
Bots can help players reach higher levels at a quick pace, such as one player that hit the level cap by using one. However, the consequences are dire, now that permanent bans may result.
“Our goal is to provide a fair, fun and legitimate game experience for everyone,” writes Niantic on its website. “We will continue to work with all of you to improve the quality of the gameplay, including ongoing optimization and fine tuning of our anti-cheat system.” Niantic also mentions that if you believe you’ve faced a ban unjustly, you can appeal it by using this form.
The usage of bots can disrupt the Pokémon Go experience for others, if a cheating player ends up farming XP with a bot and then taking over a gym. I understand how Niantic would want to approach the situation sternly, and I don’t think players should cheat. However, it should also be noted that higher levels require an unrealistic amount of XP to progress, but perhaps Niantic expects players will stick with the game for a long time. In total, it requires 20 million XP from the first to last level.