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Pokémon Go bot programs shut down as players face permanent bans

Niantic is finally kicking out cheaters

Pokémon Go players who use bot programs or GPS location spoofs may now find their accounts terminated, the mobile game’s FAQ page now states. In light of community reports that Niantic is sending out bans tho those who violate the game’s terms of service, widely used bots like NecroBot are now closing shop before the Pokémon Go developer can force them to.

Necronomicon, whose NecroBot tool uses the game’s location data to allow players to accomplish goals without playing outdoors as intended, confirmed to Polygon that he removed the the program’s download files in response to the bans.

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Man holding phone playing Pokémon Go Photo: Niantic/The Pokémon Company
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"Due to legal action being started against other bot creators/devs (we did not receive a letter yet) the Project development will be stopped," he wrote on the NecroBot GitHub page. Other, similar bots have begun to do the same, Necronomicon told us, like HaxtonBot and PokeMobBot, which cites a takedown notice for its closure. We’ve reached out to Niantic to see whether or not the company is sending out cease and desist notices to these and more sites.

The end of bot programs could alleviate some players’ concerns, especially ones who considered the use of tools that allowed players to hit the level cap at unbelievable speed to be ruining Pokémon Go for everyone else. Those who have already downloaded NecroBot and other programs and used them on their accounts may have already received ban notices. Appeals can be filed through a form on Niantic’s website if these terminations were issued "incorrectly," according to an FAQ post.

"Your account was permanently terminated for violations of the Pokémon GO terms of service," Niantic wrote. "This includes, but is not limited to: falsifying your location, using emulators, modified or unofficial software and/or accessing Pokémon GO clients or backends in an unauthorized manner including through the use of third party software."

Previously, players caught cheating were issued "soft bans;" they could keep playing the game, except they couldn't catch any Pokémon or fight any gym battles. These have been in effect since Pokémon Go launched, but players on popular forums are now confirming that their bans have become permanent after using unofficial software.

GPS spoofing tools are already barred from use on Twitch, where players often streamed Pokémon Go from the comfort of their own homes instead of walking around outside. That’s no longer allowed, as the streaming platform announced earlier this week; it’s against both the game and the website’s terms of service to use programs not sanctioned by the developer.

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