Niantic is working hard to rectify the erroneous Pokémon GO bans and strikes, which unfairly penalized some trainers who were not cheating. The developer appears to be working hard to resolve the months-long issue of unintentional bans in the game.
Pokémon GO gamers have recently observed an increase in premature or erroneous strikes and bans. Niantic’s anti-cheat algorithm gives multiple seven-day bans after only one – or no – cheating infraction.
The anti-cheat problem in Pokémon GO has been going on for months. Since April, trainers have been reporting excessive or unjustified strikes and bans on their Pokémon accounts since April, branding them as cheaters without justification.
Some trainers acknowledged cheating before the bans but said they were targeted by excessive or premature bans (Niantic has a three-strike anti-cheat policy in place for Pokémon GO). Others said they hadn’t cheated at all but were nonetheless hit with strikes, with some losing access to their accounts for no apparent reason. The problem has reportedly gotten so widespread that Niantic has taken formal action to remedy it.
Niantic Support for Pokémon GO wrote on Twitter that the staff is “working on restoring strikes for certain Trainers who earned penalties on their accounts mistakenly.” Niantic is working to undo the erroneous bans and strikes that have locked users out of their Pokémon GO accounts without reason, some momentarily and others permanently.
“This will be done for Trainers automatically, whether or not they have contacted us,” the development team informed players. Niantic has apologized for the Pokémon GO mistake, but there has been no word on potential compensation for people affected by unjust strikes (or the player base as a whole).
We’re working on reverting strikes for some Trainers who incorrectly received punishments on their accounts. This will be done for Trainers automatically, whether or not they have contacted us. We apologize for the error.
— Niantic Support (@NianticHelp) July 27, 2021
Over five years have passed since the release of Pokémon GO. Many players have been collecting Pokémon since the game’s inception, making both temporary and permanent bans highly inconvenient. Though cheating is a common occurrence in the game – Niantic said in February that it would punish or ban 5 million users across Pokémon GO and its other games by 2020 – premature or unfair bans are major issues that may spoil the experience for those who are affected.
While the development team’s response to the problem is a good start, there is still a lot more work to be done before players can completely trust the game’s anti-cheat mechanism again.
While Niantic hasn’t said why the bans were implemented, it’s conceivable that the anti-cheat software is too sensitive and/or overly sensitive by design. Niantic has lately made it a priority to clean up the cheating situation in Pokémon GO, but it’s likely the company went too far. At the very least, users who were caught in the crossfire will now be able to reaccess their Pokémon GO accounts.