Pokémon Go players getting banned for cheating game into think they're someone else

The ban only lasts for a couple of hours – so many players think it's still worth cheating

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 13 July 2016 10:33

Pokémon Go players are being quietly banned from the hugely-popular game for cheating.

People have been using tricks to spoof their GPS location, so that their phones think that they are somewhere else. By doing so, people can effectively teleport to places that have lots of Pokémon to catch – without ever leaving their seat.

Since the app relies heavily on using people’s real location – encouraging them to go to places in the real world to find virtual Pokémon – a key way of cheating is to trick a phone into believing that it’s somewhere else. Many users have made their phone think that it’s in New York, for instance, which has a high concentration of Pokémon.

Such users appear to be getting found out by developer Niantic and then having their account “soft banned”. That means that they can still open the app and play it – but they won’t be able to actually do anything once they’re in the game’s augmented reality world.

When banned, users will be able to see Pokémon to catch but when they try and throw a Pokéball at it to grab it, the creature will run away. Banned users aren’t able to claim gyms or pick up items from Pokéstops, either – keeping them from doing everything important in the game.

But the ban only lasts for a couple of hours, and so most users on the site’s subreddit say that it is unlikely to keep them from cheating.

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That could mean that Niantic eventually adds even more restrictions to stop people cheating. During beta tests for the game, punishments were far harsher - leading people to get banned for longer if they were thought to have been tricking the game.

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