Niantic has been dishing out warnings and bans for cheaters in Pokemon Go ever since the game launched two years ago. As the game continues to thrive, the developer has finally decided to outline how, exactly, that process works. While anyone caught cheating in the game is likely already familiar with this procedure, those Goody Two-shoes in the audience might enjoy learning how, exactly, Niantic is attempting to keep the game fair and fun for all involved.
Over on the Niantic blog, the developer has finally offered a rundown of its three-strike discipline policy. We'll go over the particulars first, then explain why it has likely taken them so long to get so serious about fair play in Pokemon Go.
According to the announcement, the policy is designed to provide offenders within the game world with a series of disciplinary actions, each one more severe than the last. They're super kind in their explanation, too, saying that everyone makes mistakes and they want folks to feel like they are given an opportunity to grow from said mistakes. We're not sure we'd call GPS spoofing a "mistake" so much as "flat-out cheating," but we can't fault Niantic for trying to give players the benefit of the doubt.
They keep it real simple in terms of what is considered cheating, referring players to Pokemon Go's terms of service and the Trainer Guidelines, both linked within the original post. They're also viewable in-game and have to be agreed to before creating an account, so nobody can really act like they weren't aware of the rules. Things like GPS location spoofing and using third-party software and add-ons to alter the way you play the game are given as specific examples, and are exactly the types of activities Niantic has been cracking down on a lot more lately.
While not all offenders are offered three strikes, those who are begin, appropriately enough, with a warning. If that happens, you'll get a warning within the app directly letting you know that cheating has been detected. For the next week, you won't encounter rare Pokemon in the wild and you may not receive experience for participating in raids. Stop cheating and things will go back to normal.
If you hit that second strike, your account will be suspended, losing access to Pokemon Go for a full month. If you commit this second infraction, you'll get a notice when you try to log in that you have been banned for 30 days.
The third strike, as you might have guessed, is straight-up termination from Pokemon Go. Your account will be banned, permanently.
Niantic is open to appeals, with a link to conduct such a measure also included in the same post. As for why they are doing this, we figure the inclusion of trading/more social features and the impending launch of Pokemon Let's Go Eevee/Pikachu on the Switch are big contributors. They've always worked to prevent cheating but, now that the game is becoming more competitive and about to link with a Nintendo game, we figure they decided it was time to buckle down and make things nice and clear for the community.