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Niantic outlines Pokemon Go cheating policy

Developer offers clarity on three-strike disciplinary system as ban waves ramp up

Developer Niantic has offered clarification on its cheating policies for Pokemon Go. The game will use a three-strike warning system for detected cheating, offering offenders a chance to "learn from their mistakes and change their ways."

This is the first major clarification on cheating policies Niantic has offered for some time, though an uptick of banwaves and evidence datamined from APK files by subreddit The Silph Road has indicated a harder line on cheating recently.

The first instance of cheating will result in a warning message, as well as an embargo on new EX Raid Passes and certain rare Pokemon for seven days. The second strike will result in another message that will prevent the player from accessing their account for 30 days. After this, any further transgressions will result in a permanent ban from the game, though there is an appeals process.

Cheating in Pokemon Go constitutes GPS location spoofing or use of third-party software or addons to access the client in an unauthorized way. The former has been a frustration in the game since launch even as Niantic endeavored to combat it. For instance, players would place high level Pokemon in Gyms they were nowhere near (especially in rural areas where strong Pokemon are difficult to come by) and immediately take those Gyms back if deposed.

"A strike serves as a warning," reads Niantic's policy. "Everyone can make mistakes. That's why we have created this policy to enable offenders to learn from their mistakes and change their ways. If you have been issued a strike, don't ignore it. Take action to ensure that you do not commit any further transgressions. If you believe that your account was compromised or hacked, please see this article for tips on securing your account."

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Rebekah Valentine avatar

Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.