Niantic, the developer behind the popular augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go, will now hand out permanent bans to players caught violating its terms of service (TOS), the company announced. Reports of the developer doling out bans to players caught violating the game's TOS, including those who use bot programs, mods or GPS location hacks, have already started to emerge.
According to an FAQ posted on the company's website, cheaters could have their accounts permanently terminated if found "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."
Necronomicon, the creator of the NecroBot tool that allowed players to catch and evolve the little critters, farm Pokéstops and more without ever leaving the house, has already removed the program's download and source files.
"Due to legal action being started against other bot creators/devs (we did not receive a letter yet) the Project development will be stopped," he wrote on the NecroBot GitHub page. PokeMobBot said it was issued a DMCA takedown notice and was closed as a result.
Earlier this month, Niantic Chief Executive Officer John Hanke shed some light on the team's decision to cut off access to third-party tracking tools and services, saying they were taking up a significant amount of the game's services. He also said these services hindered the app's international rollout as well.
In the past, players found cheating in the game were given "soft bans," preventing them from catching the digital monsters, collecting items from PokéStops or battling to claim a gym.
"Our goal is to provide a fair, fun and legitimate game experience for everyone," the company wrote. "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."
If a ban has been mistakenly issued, the company has provided a link to an appeal form players looking to reverse a ban.