If you’ve ever seen a Level 37 player holding a suburban gym with his 3200 CP Dragonite, chances are you’ve encountered a player who used a bot to cheat the Pokemon Go system and jump ahead of other players. For weeks, Pokemon Go has been plagued with players who leveled up using bot programs, a program that spoofs a player’s GPS and allows them to play the game remotely.
When coupled with an app like PokeVision, players using bots can travel around the world snagging rare Pokemon or lurking at nests without ever actually leaving home. In order to “earn” PokeCoins, some bot users will take over gyms in remote areas, putting legitimate players at a big disadvantage. The first player to reach Level 40 admitted he used a bot program to hit the game’s max level and many players were complaining how bots were ruining Pokemon Go for everyone else.
When Niantic Labs shut down some third party tracking apps over the weekend, many players were upset that they were going after “helpful” programs instead of focusing on the bot issue. But now, it seems that Niantic has found a way to lock out all bots out of the Pokemon Go servers.
It’s unclear exactly what Niantic did, but it appears that all bot and tracking programs have been shut out of Pokemon Go‘s servers. Niantic forced all Apple users to update their app earlier today, and it’s possible that the company has figured out which users are using a legitimate version of the game and which users are using a modified or hacked version.
Although some Pokemon Go users will be frustrated that Niantic shut down all third party trackers, most players recognized that bots were becoming a major problem in the community. With some players already selling off their accounts for money and trading expected soon, Niantic needed to act now to stop cheaters before they undermined the integrity of the game. However, it’s too early to tell whether Niantic has found a way to permanently shut Pokemon Go bots down, or if this is just a short term solution.