'Pokémon Go' creator Niantic lifts lifetime bans on app-using players

'Pokémon Go' creator Niantic lifts lifetime bans on app-using players
Source: AP
Source: AP

There's hope for you yet, cheaters: Pokémon Go creator Niantic Labs will lift the lifetime bans of some players who used add-on map apps to more easily track Pokémon.

Niantic CEO John Hanke said the company won't be going any easier on third-party applications, since they seem to wreak havoc on Pokémon Go's servers. According to a press release from Hanke, Niantic blocks bots, data scraping (getting data off the web) operations and anyone who implements them.

A Pokémon Go player being driven around to find Pokémon
Source: 
Thomas Cytrynowicz/AP

According to the release, the apps in question can do more damage than just showing you where to find a Charmander. Each app can be used by the app creator as a way to collect data from players without the players knowing. Considering there are about 9.5 million daily active Pokémon players in the U.S. alone, even the activity from a small percentage of them using these data-collecting apps can have an "effect similar to DDoS attacks on our servers" — meaning the amount of activity resembles a massive hack. "Because of this we have had to ban some accounts associated with using these add-on map tools," Hanke wrote. "This is a small subset of the accounts banned."

But Hanke's giving naive players the benefit of the doubt: "Some players may not have realized that some add-on map apps do more than just show you nearby Pokémon," Hanke wrote. Thanks to some game changes, players who used the apps can be unbanned — but they'd better straighten up.

The Terms of Service still say you can't use add-on maps, and accounts used specifically to scrape for Pokémon data are staying banned. That extends to any accounts who used apps and websites to "remotely capture Pokémon, battle or deploy on Gyms, or harvest resources from PokéStops" — essentially, cheat and make the game lame for people who are out in the street hustling for Hitmonchans.

"Our main priority is to provide a fair, fun, and legitimate experience for all players," Hanke wrote, "so, aggressive banning will continue to occur for players who engage in these kinds of activities."

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Max Plenke

Max Plenke is a staff writer at Mic, where he covers breaking news, climate science, health and the future. His work has appeared in Esquire, GQ and Wallpaper. Send story tips to max@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Fans searched for years for aliens in 'Grand Theft Auto 5' – here's who finally found them

The story of how a group of determined individuals finally found aliens in 'Grand Theft Auto 5.'

'The Burning Crusade' private server Felmyst is the latest 'World of Warcraft' fanmade project to receive a takedown notice from

Blizzard has stepped in to shut down a fanmade 'World of Warcraft' legacy server called Felmyst.

Walmart set SNES Classic preorders live unexpectedly last night, and some customers are complaining of cancellations

Walmart suddenly set preorders for the SNES Classic live last night, and left us with a lot of questions.

Take advantage of this 'Pokémon Go' gift box sale to stock up on essential items

There's a big sale going on in 'Pokémon Go' right now, so you should get in on it!

‘Pokémon Go’ Fest plagued by connectivity issues as players boo Niantic CEO

'Pokémon Go' Fest in Chicago's Grant Park is being plagued by mobile connectivity and game server issues. Here's what fans have to say.

Is 'Final Fantasy 16' coming out anytime soon?

When might we see more on 'Final Fantasy 16?' Is the game on its way out?

Fans searched for years for aliens in 'Grand Theft Auto 5' – here's who finally found them

The story of how a group of determined individuals finally found aliens in 'Grand Theft Auto 5.'

'The Burning Crusade' private server Felmyst is the latest 'World of Warcraft' fanmade project to receive a takedown notice from

Blizzard has stepped in to shut down a fanmade 'World of Warcraft' legacy server called Felmyst.

Walmart set SNES Classic preorders live unexpectedly last night, and some customers are complaining of cancellations

Walmart suddenly set preorders for the SNES Classic live last night, and left us with a lot of questions.

Take advantage of this 'Pokémon Go' gift box sale to stock up on essential items

There's a big sale going on in 'Pokémon Go' right now, so you should get in on it!

‘Pokémon Go’ Fest plagued by connectivity issues as players boo Niantic CEO

'Pokémon Go' Fest in Chicago's Grant Park is being plagued by mobile connectivity and game server issues. Here's what fans have to say.

Is 'Final Fantasy 16' coming out anytime soon?

When might we see more on 'Final Fantasy 16?' Is the game on its way out?