The Pokémon Company has dropped the ban hammer on nearly 6,000 Pokémon Sun and Moon players, according to an update on Serebii, the de facto place for all things Pokémon. All of the bans were dealt out to players who possessed altered save data.
“This ban prevents them from using Game Sync, entering in Rating Battles and Battle Competitions, and participating in Global Missions,” the update states.
“Altered save data” refers to hacked Pokémon that were either not supposed to be in the game, or were added through unconventional means. Uploading modded Pokémon breaks the user agreement, and thus, puts guilty trainers at risk of bans like this one.
Basically, the ban prevents players from using much of the game’s online functionality. When banned users try to enter any of these modes, they are blocked by an error code. Kotaku reported that the error reads: “The connection to the Pokémon Global Link from this saved data has been denied. (Error Code: 090-0212)”
The Pokémon Company also said this first wave of bans will not be the last. Any user with altered save data is subject to facing the same ban without warning.
Since it is possible to unwittingly receive a hacked Pokémon via an online trade, it would seem that any player who possesses a contraband Pokémon could incur consequences. Thankfully, Kotaku claims that the bans appear to be isolated to users who performed the hacking, not unassuming players who happen to have an “illegal” Pokémon in Sun or Moon.
Illegal Pokémon were already flagged and not usable online, but there’s still some kinks that need to be worked out to identify legal versus illegal pocket monsters. Since the games launched, there have been a number of instances of completely legal Pokémon being banned without an explanation from The Pokémon Company.