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Pokémon Go maker Niantic banned over a million cheaters in 2020

Fraud the win.

Niantic has issued a rare update on its efforts to combat cheating in Pokémon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Ingress.

Over a million player accounts were permanently banned from its games in 2020 alone, with more than five million players given some kind of punishment in total.

"More than 90 per cent of users who received their first warning, stopped cheating afterwards," Niantic wrote in a blog post. "This is quite encouraging for us, as we continue to find the right balance between punishing casual cheaters versus the more egregious ones.

Cover image for YouTube videoPokémon Go - Go Beyond Update and Gen 6 teaser

"We don't talk much about our anti-cheat efforts, partly because we don't want to provide cheaters with information that can help them understand our detection mechanisms better. But, rest assured our reluctance to share is not due to a lack of effort or intent from our side."

Cheating in Pokémon Go, the developer's most-played game by some margin, remains a noticeable issue for many communities. Tools to "spoof" your phone's location can be used to teleport your player character and collect rare Pokémon from all over the world. Large groups exist online to openly share coordinates for other spoofers. Posting in these if you want to keep your account is not a clever idea.

Spoofing is also used in ways which directly impact other players, such as to continually hold a Pokémon gym, and in Ingress, whose gameplay revolves around visiting and controlling networks of physical locations, this is especially an issue.

Niantic said it has rolled out a new Fast Track process for Ingress players to request intervention from the developer if a user is cheating to dismantle player networks, and is working on new anti-spoofing security measures it plans to detail in the near future.

Last weekend saw Pokémon Go pull off one of its best ticketed events yet, Kanto Tour, though some users managed to gain access for free. A bonus day for paid up players will be held shortly.