Players of Pokémon Go are reporting that a new anti-cheat measure has been recently put in place by developer Niantic Labs, removing certain gameplay elements and capabilities from specific players without an official message telling them that their game has been altered. The measure, according to reports, is specifically targeting players who utilize unofficial 3rd-party software to enhance their Pokémon Go experience, such as Pokémon trackers and map scanners, and is removing their ability to find uncommon Pokémon in game, leaving them stuck with nothing but Pidgeys, Rattatas, and the like.
Pokémon Go has aged gracefully over the year of its existence so far, but it’s no secret that the game is not anywhere near the “take over the world” levels of popularity it saw at launch. Left in the wake of the initial player boom is a smaller, more dedicated playerbase, playing the game actively and discussing Pokémon spawn locations and gameplay techniques in detail at various online forums. With the average user moving away from “casual” status, use of 3rd-party scanners to boost the Pokémon Go experience is more commonplace, and therefore this new anti-cheat action is definitely not going unnoticed by the community at large.
Players are reporting a variety of experiences with the new anti-cheat measure, across different forums. Reddit user /u/kdiddy733 shared the following image of a warning he received in-game after using a “mapper”:
As you can see, while ominous, this warning does NOT indicate in any clear language that any action has actually been taken against the account; it only warns of the potential for future action. However, players are reporting that, with or without warning, they are losing access to specific Pokémon in game. One user at the Pokémon Go Dev Subreddit has shared an approximate list of the Pokémon that remain available, and the ones that are rendered off-limits: only about 30 of the available 200+ available Pokémon continue to show up in the wild for players with banned accounts.
Neither Niantic nor The Pokémon Company have released any official statement yet on the new anti-cheat measure, or its resulting shadowbans.