Playing a game like the extremely popular Pokémon Go by the rules is the common ground for collective fun, but some find cheating irresistible. Because rather than taking a walk, wouldn’t it be much easier to maintain a stationary position in your couch and catch Pokémon by faking your position?
Absolutely. But it will also likely end in a ban.
Reports are coming in of players getting banned for location spoofing, and it seems to last anywhere from 2 to 24 hours. According to one user, they have received a permanent ban.
You may think these are surprisingly quick measures against cheating but Niantic, the developer of Pokémon Go, has plenty of experience with this type of game. Arguably more so than any other developer in existence, as they’ve been in charge of the very similar game Ingress for over two years. While the functionality of the apps differ, the idea of fighting over territory remains much the same, except you capture more locations and less Pokémon. During that time the developer saw frequent location spoofing by players.
A Reddit user by the name of Osunoob1 says that a friend cheated his way to level 20. He had a powerful plethora of Pokémon as well as plenty of gyms. Unfortunately for this friend, but to the benefit of other trainers, his cheating didn’t last for long. After two continuous days of location spoofing he was stripped of all those achievements, according to Osunoob1.
There are some guidelines for not getting banned, and they essentially come down to not faking your position, or traveling too quickly. A Reddit user with experience from Ingress warns players to not travel faster than 30km/h — that’s roughly 19mph.
Reports of successful location spoofing are limited, likely due to not wanting to reveal themselves online before they’re actually banned. There are reports on how to work around the anti-cheating measures used by Niantic but they’re not particularly straight forward.
Unless you’re so keen on cheating you don’t mind rooting your Android or jailbreaking your iPhone, and installing a variety of different apps of which some may even cost you money, you’re not likely to find it worth your while.
But even then it may not help. Some comments describe following the various tips online and still ending up with a ban. Conclusion? Play a fair game and walk around outside. Who knows, maybe you’ll find new friends to chat with!