‘Pokemon GO’ ban: Niantic hiding spawns of rare monsters from cheats; Players calling it shadow-ban

By @ritwikroy1985 on
Pokemon Go
Tokyo, Japan A man plays the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo in front of a shop selling Pokemon goods in Tokyo, Japan July 22, 2016. Reuters/Toru Hanai

Latest reports suggest that Niantic is hiding rare monster spawns from “Pokemon GO” cheats. Players using third-party applications to play the game have been flagged by Niantic and received a warning message.

There are numerous third-party apps players use to gain advantage over others. Tracking maps tell the players where certain Pokemon are in an area. Even though using mappers to play the game is enjoyable, and players believe it’s optimal, Niantic considers this cheating.

The latest step by the developer, hiding rare monster spawns, is being considered a shadow-ban. It means that the cheats may be at the exact same area as other players; however, they will not be able to see the rare Pokemon, only the common ones such as Pidgeys and Rattatas.

Niantic has neither confirmed nor denied this action. However, the “Pokemon GO” community is absolutely sure that shadow-bans are really taking place. Certain player accounts have stopped finding Pokemon at some of the known spawn points. The trainers were incapable of seeing anything except the common ones. Some of the mapping services that relied on bots to gather data have stopped working completely. Many of such sites are reporting outages.

Due to the changes by Niantic, some of the trackers are finding workarounds for inaccurate scans. A lot many players have confirmed the existence of this anti-cheat system. Twitter, “Pokemon GO” communities and Reddit are full of messages confirming its existence. Kotaku Australia even shared warning messages these cheaters are receiving. It also showed the differences between flagged and non-flagged accounts. There are also many who are complaining that their accounts are being flagged falsely.

It has not been verified whether these players used third-party apps or not, and there is no way to verify that. There is a debate in forums whether mapping services should really be considered illegal. Some argued that they are forced to use maps since they live in rural areas or have busy work schedules. However, there is good news for players who are not facing any kind of ban. Niantic has teased that the Legendary Pokemon may soon be released, that is, by the end of this year.

Fans believe that the release of the Legendaries will be the most important thing in “Pokemon GO” to celebrate its one-year anniversary. [READ MORE: ‘Pokemon GO’ Legendary update in June; Gen 3 is faraway though]