Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm, with over 6 million downloads in the UK alone since it launched back in July.
While most Pokémon fans were thrilled to finally embark on the adventure that they had dreamed of since the first time that they watched Ash and Pikachu set off into Kanto, others were less than happy at being forced to get up off the sofa to capture a Pokémon or hatch an egg.
Some players got inventive in their attempts to beat the system, by tying their smartphones to dogs, record players and drones to trick the app. However, others took a different approach, using programs and tools to get around the need to explore.
GPS spoofing, for example, allows users to trick their smartphone into thinking that it is located somewhere else, allowing them to move their location to areas with high populations of a particular Pokémon.
However, Niantic, the developers behind the hit mobile app, have vowed now to permanently ban Pokémon Go cheaters that violate their terms of service.
“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,” reads their updated TOS.
The decision to issue permanent bans is a major change of strategy for Niantic, who had previously been issuing ‘soft bans’, which allowed players to continue the game, but stopped them from capture gyms, in order to ensure that their decision to cheat had no impact on other players.
Niantic have stated that one of their main aims was to get people out playing in the real world and feel that permanent bans are the best way to create a ‘fair, fun and legitimate’ playing surface.
In light of the change, NecroBot, one of the preferred botting systems among impatient Pokémon Go players, has decided to stop development of their software through fear of legal action against its developers. Two similar programs are now planning to follow suit.