Earlier this month, Pokémon Go developer Niantic began handing out permanent bans to players caught violating its terms of service, but has decided to overturn this decision by announcing a small number of accounts will soon be reinstated.
In a blog post on 29 August, the company said it plans on unbanning "a small subset of users" who used only the third-party apps to locate nearby Pokémon using mods, bot programs and GPS location hacks.
"Some players may not have realised that some add-on map apps do more than just show you nearby Pokémon," Niantic CEO John Hanke wrote. "Each end-user app can be used as a collection tool by the app creator, invisibly collecting and forwarding data to the app creator with or without the knowledge of the end user. These apps can have an effect similar to DDoS attacks on our servers.
"Because of this we have had to ban some accounts associated with using these add-on map tools, leading to confusion by some users about why they were banned. This is a small subset of the accounts banned."
After making some adjustments to the game's servers, Hanke said the developer is now ready to lift the permanent bans. The developer is also quick to note that continuous use of third-party apps and exploits will see these unbanned users kicked out of the game again.
However, accounts that used websites or apps to "remotely capture Pokémon, battle or deploy on Gyms, or harvest resources from PokéStops" will not be unbanned.
"Our main priority is to provide a fair, fun, and legitimate experience for all players, so, aggressive banning will continue to occur for players who engage in these kinds of activities," Hanke wrote.
Since its release in early July, Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm, encouraging millions of people to venture out to explore their surroundings and capture the beloved pocket monsters via the GPS-powered app.
The significant success and awareness generated by Pokémon Go sent the free-to-play-game surging to the top of the charts, sparked Nintendo's biggest share spurt in years and helped drive the company's 3DS handheld system to top of the US hardware and software sales charts last month.
However, the game has lost more than 15 million daily users, roughly 30% of the game's peak player numbers in July, according to a report from Axiom Capital Management.