Pokemon Go developer Niantic is preparing to punish trainers who have acquired their rare Pokemon using third-party services and other methods designed to circumvent normal gameplay. The announcement was made by Niantic’s verified Reddit account, which revealed that starting June 21, all ill-gotten Pokemon will be marked in the user’s inventory and will “not behave as expected.”
The latest announcement arrives shortly after Niantic took the veil off its Raid Battles update earlier this week. The Pokemon marking feature is the result of the company’s efforts to offer a fun and fair experience to all Pokemon Go trainers and comes less than a month after Niantic began shadow banning bot accounts by limiting them to finding and catching only common Pokemon. However, the new feature targets Pokemon Go accounts that have already been packed with rare Pokemon acquired through third-party software designed to give trainers an unfair advantage. The accounts will still be accessible by their users but every ill-gotten Pokemon will be marked and behave in an unexpected manner, though the company did not go into details as to how exactly these marked Pokemon will act. Presumably, pocket monsters captured using third-party software will not be able to participate in new activities like Raiding and could be banned from defending Gyms. It’s also unclear exactly what type of third-party services are considered to “circumvent normal gameplay” by Niantic, as these range from mapping websites designed to reveal the exact location of nearby Pokemon, to more harmful software allowing Trainers to use fake GPS locations and roam the virtual world of Pokemon Go without having to travel anywhere. All in all, it appears that Niantic is committed to improving the Pokemon Go experience for all Trainers who have a sense of fair play and punishing those who do not.
Pokemon Go launched nearly a year ago in July 2016, and it shortly became a worldwide phenomenon inviting countless trainers to go outside in the real world and search for pocket monsters. It’s been the host of various events and the game received a handful of feature updates improving upon the existing augmented reality (AR) formula. Niantic is also working on two additional major content updates expected to be launched before the end of the year, introducing both player-versus-player battles as well as a Pokemon trading system.