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Early Pokémon Sun and Moon players slapped with bans from Nintendo (update)

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That’s why you don’t play online with a ROM

Pokémon Sun and Moon Festival Plaza Nintendo/Game Freak

Leaked copies of Pokémon Sun and Moon have been in players’ hands for at least a week now, but players are only just finding themselves getting dinged by Nintendo for playing the games ahead of their official Nov. 18 release. The company is reportedly cutting off users with ROMs from online access, according to several posters across Reddit and 4chan.

An image bearing an error code displayed on a Nintendo 3DS system is making the rounds on both forums, issued as a warning to the Pokémon community from those now facing the online ban.

Imgur via Reddit

“This device’s access to online services has been restricted by Nintendo,” the message reads. The error popped up for one Reddit user after using the Wonder Trade feature in Sun and Moon’s Festival Plaza multiplayer mode. The rest of the note instructs users to visit Nintendo’s support site for help, although looking up the error code suggests a call to customer service is the only way to get help.

It’s unclear how many people are phoning Nintendo right now asking for their bans to be rescinded, but plenty of forum posters are making their unhappiness unknown.

“What the fuck was Nintendo thinking?” asked an anonymous 4chan poster. “I AM BANNED I CAN’T ACCESS ANYTHING NOT EVEN THE ESHOP. I will never buy anything from Nintendo again. Fuck them.”

A few Reddit posters corroborate this claim, albeit in a much calmer manner.

“At this point all we can do is hope that they are temporary bans,” said another player who’s been kicked out of Nintendo’s online features.

Most other users on 4chan and Reddit are unsympathetic, though. It’s not surprising that Nintendo would attempt to shut down players who already have one of the year’s biggest games ahead of schedule, especially when many of them have already uploaded Sun and Moon’s content online. With the new pair of Pokémon adventures already out there for several days now, it’s in fact a bit surprising that it’s taken this long for Nintendo to start levying the ban hammer — but connecting to online multiplayer sounds the death knell.

One poster responded to say as much.

“You're fucking whining about the fact that you can't get online on your 3ds anymore,” they wrote, “after you practically steal a game without paying for it & think nothing will happen to you after you go online with it before release date, because you thought it'd be fun to try & find the few other people who have the game with ya.

“Fucking stop,” they added.

We’ve reached out to Nintendo about the cause and length of these bans, which don’t appear to be permanent. Pokémon fans are encouraged to wait it out until this Friday to play Sun and Moon, which we concluded are well worth the wait in our review.

Update: Nintendo confirmed to Polygon that players have been banned for going online ahead of launch.

“As a result of a number of Nintendo 3DS users using unauthorized versions of several games, and connecting to the official game servers in violation of our terms of service, these users’ Nintendo 3DS systems that stored the unauthorized game code have been banned from Nintendo's online network effective immediately,” a representative told us in a statement.