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Cheating in video games has been thing since they've existed. These days developers have been fighting against cheaters and ramping up the severity of punishment, and in the case of _Pokemon Go _that means permanently banning some player accounts.
Gamespot is reporting that Niantic Labs is further enforcing their terms of service and cracking down on people found to be manipulating Pokemon Go to get a clear advantage in the game. Players will be permanently banned if they're found to be using bots, hacks, or third-party software to help them cheat in the game.
Over on the official Pokemon Go website there's a ban appeal page that allows players to appeal to have their account unbanned, they list the reasons for why a ban may have occurred, stating...
This includes, but is not limited to: 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.
Previously, third-party tracking apps were quite popular with Pokemon Go before Niantic Labs stepped in and made them obsolete with a patch. Other third-party trackers decided to shutdown after being requested to by Niantic Labs.
Of course, those requests didn't stop some people from using whatever means possible to increase their chance of getting rare Pokemon without having to actually play Pokemon Go. There were people strapping their phones to ceiling fans or even duct taping the phone to a drone and flying around. Some people just don't want to get up and go outside to catch Pokemon in Pokemon Go.
The Gamespot article further notes that following the crackdown on bots and third-party software, some of the bot makers for the game have closed up shop, making it difficult for players to cheat their way through the game.
Niantic is trying to keep the game "fair". However, according to their statements about fairness and the appeal process for a ban, it almost sounds like perma-bans are being handed out automatically, given that it states,
Our goal is to provide a fair, fun and legitimate game experience for everyone. 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
So the anti-cheat system flags accounts, and it's possible that if it suspects you're using third-party software to get a leg up in Pokemon Go, then it bans your account.
Niantic has been desperately trying to curb all forms of cheating behavior, but they've mostly been playing cat and mouse as different types of cheats have emerged following bans or limits on other types of methods. It's a perpetual cat and mouse game with no end.
The popularity of Pokemon Go would obviously lend itself to the kind of gaming of the system that we've seen. It's no surprise that the millions of people who have engaged with the app might have a few out of the bunch who would rather cheat their way to... catching them all. Nevertheless, Niantic is curbing this kind of behavior and if you're caught engaging in said behavior, your account could be permanently banned.