Niantic has fought back against Pokémon Go cheaters in a variety of ways. From outright banning them to using more interesting methods, like only allowing them to catch the worst pokémon. Basically, the company has zero tolerance for players who use assistant apps that help track pokémon or trick the game. Today, the developer expanded its punishments with another unorthodox measure: players who use third-party services that “circumvent normal gameplay” will be marked.
In a statement on TheSilphRoad subreddit, Niantic describes this shameful badge as a “slash” in their inventory; once marked, a player’s game “may not behave as expected.” Exactly what that means is unclear. When contacted by The Verge, Niantic declined to elaborate, but instead pointed back to its statement.
This community of Pokémon Go players at TheSilphRoad have started sharing pictures of the alleged mark.
Since the game’s launch last year, some players have used third-party apps for mapping, GPS spoofing, or botting, all of which give players a leg-up in their hunting. In its statement, Niantic calls the move part of its dedication to “staying true on our commitment to ensuring that Pokémon Go continues to be a fun and fair experience for all Trainers … This is one small part of our continued commitment to maintaining the integrity of our community and delivering an amazing Pokémon Go experience.”
The mark itself may serve as a shaming technique more than anything, but we’d guess the strange behavior Niantic ominously warned about may include other tricks to ruin a cheater’s good time.