It’s only been a month pokemon go players began to notice that Niantic had started “shadow banning” accounts that use third-party trackers and bot software, restricting them from seeing only regular Pokémon. Now the company is moving forward to ensure that ill-gotten beasts are publicly identified as such and do not negatively impact the multiplayer experience.
In a post from its verified Reddit account, Niantic Support provided an update on “Pokémon caught using third-party services bypassing normal gameplay”:
With the announcement of Raid Battles and the new battle features, we are staying true to our promise to ensure that pokemon go remains a fun and fair experience for all trainers. Starting today, Pokémon caught using third-party services bypassing normal gameplay will be marked with a slash in the inventory and may not behave as expected. We are humbled by the excitement about all the new features we announced yesterday. This is a small part of our ongoing commitment to preserving the integrity of our community and creating a great pokemon go experience.
What Niantic Means By Pokémon “Not Worn”[ing] as expected” is unclear, but the wording suggests these beasts may not be effective in the game’s recently announced raid battle and expanded gym features. for cooperative raids against ultra-powerful Pokémon. We suspect that Pokémon marked with a slash, at the very least won’t be able to fight for those coveted gym slots.
It’s also unclear which specific third-party services will trigger the “slash of shame” in players’ inventory. Such third-party services range from simple map sites that show the exact location of nearby Pokémon, to automated bots that virtually “distort” players, to fake GPS locations for instantly capturing monsters.
In the past, Niantic has tried to simply ban bot accounts and block third-party apps from accessing the game altogether (allowing hackers to quickly find ways around this). After that, the new shadowban and “mark of shame” penalties could be seen as a kind of compromise, allowing players to use third-party apps for a limited version of the single-player game without unnecessarily affecting the more social multiplayer content.