Niantic, owner and operator of Pokémon GO, has announced that over 5 million players have been caught and punished for cheating in the company’s various mobile games.
According to a statement on the Niantic website, over 5 million players between Pokémon GO, Ingress, and Harry Potter Wizards Unite have been punished in some capacity. Around 20% of these are permanent bans.
Cheating to various degrees has been an ongoing problem for Niantic. This is usually done with cheating software and hacks that trick the game with false GPS locations and disconnected walking systems. This gives the hackers an unfair advantage over players who play the way the game is intended (in-person), especially in regard to multiplayer elements like gym ownership and multiplayer battles.
“We are committed to ensuring fair gameplay across our game portfolio. Every day newer forms of cheating or spoofing tools are made available on the internet, and we are continuously working to combat these cheaters and focus on improving our detection and enforcement; as they have no place in our games.”
A majority of those caught cheating were issued a warning. Niantic claims that about 90% of those issued a warning stopped cheating.
I’ve had my handful of cheaters. Plenty of times I’ve seen gyms I took get reclaimed immediately by remote players. It’s not fun. As such, we’re glad that Niantic continues to make an effort to crack down on cheaters.