The sad truth about gaming is that there’s always someone looking for a way to cheat. Naturally, a game as popular as Pokemon GO has many people looking for an unfair advantage. Cheating in this game is not as simple as typing in a secret code. It takes some real ingenuity and laziness to cheat at a game that just wants you to leave your house. We’ll show you how people are cheating, what happens if you get caught, and why you shouldn’t do it.
How are people cheating?
The idea behind Pokemon GO is to get people off the couch and walking around. It tracks your location on a map with GPS. All of the cheats and hacks are based around tricking the game into thinking you’re somewhere you’re not.
The most popular method of cheating is called GPS spoofing. This method gives your phone a fake GPS location. Pokemon GO will think you’re at a Pokestop or Gym when you’re really just sitting on your toilet. GPS spoofing requires a few things that the average user might not want to do.
All you have to do is put the pin anywhere on the map and Pokemon GO will think you’re there. All from the comfort of your porcelain throne. GPS spoofing is the mos blatant form of cheating.
Another form of GPS spoofing requires some real-world tools. A Reddit user posted a few photos of his clever cheat for playing Pokemon GO without leaving his house. By attaching his phone to a drone he was able to fly around and collect Pokemon without technically spoofing his GPS. If you have a drone that can lift a phone, you can do it too.
- Download AirDroid to control your phone from your PC
- Attach phone to drone and fly around
- Play Pokemon GO from your PC
This technique is not cheating on a technical level. The phone is actually at the real GPS location. It still goes against the spirit of the game, which leads me to the form of cheating that most people are using.
Niantic has taken measures to prevent people from playing Pokemon GO while driving. Going faster than 20MPH won’t count toward hatching eggs and Pokemon won’t pop up on the map. So what are people doing instead of getting up and going for a walk? Driving around in cars at super slow speeds.
Driving at a slow speed is not technically cheating. You’re taking advantage of a loophole, but the game is not meant to be played from a car. The worst part about this cheat is that it’s dangerous. Distracted driving kills thousands of people every year. If you use this cheat, please don’t be behind the wheel.
What happens to cheaters?
Thankfully, Niantic punishes people who cheat. If you’re caught using a GPS spoofer you will find yourself “soft banned.” A soft ban means you can access the game, but you can’t actually play it. If you try to catch a Pokemon it will immediately run away, and you’re locked out of Gym Battles and collecting items from Pokestops.
We don’t know exactly how long the soft bans last. There have been reports for anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours. It might be dependent on how aggressively you’re spoofing the GPS. Pretending to be a few blocks away vs pretending to be in a major city a few states away. It’s also possible that multiple soft bans can lead to a permanent ban, but we don’t know for sure. Basically, if you’re caught cheating, the game is going to be very annoying for a couple of hours.
Why you shouldn’t cheat.
I want to preface this by saying I wouldn’t say cheaters suck or not. I understand not everyone is able to play this game. Some people physically can’t leave their homes or hospital beds, and some people are stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing around them. If that describes your situation, I completely understand your need to cheat. However, most cheaters are perfectly capable of playing the game correctly.
Cheaters ruin the game for everyone. Pokemon GO is all about getting outside and meeting new people. When someone drives around in their air conditioned car to hatch an egg it cheapens the experience for the people who have walked 10Km to do the same thing. It’s sad to see a bunch of people sitting alone in their cars at a Pokestop or Gym. That’s not what Niantic and Nintendo envisioned.
It’s not like this is the only Pokemon game to play. Pokemon has been around for 20 years. In that time there have been nearly 100 Pokemon games on a variety of devices and consoles. Almost every single one of them can be played in the comfort of your own home, and many of them include the same Pokemon found in Pokemon GO. If you aren’t going to play Pokemon GO correctly, play one of those other games.
Cheating always sucks for the people that play games correctly, but it especially sucks in a game that requires physical effort to play. Not only are these people ruining it for others, but they are cheating themselves out of exercise and potential social interaction. In the couple of weeks that Pokemon GO has been available there have been stories of people losing weight and making new friends. Cheaters are missing out.
The villains of the Pokemon series are Team Rocket. They exploit Pokemon for profit and have plans to take over the world. You might say that Team Rocket are the cheaters of the Pokemon universe. No one likes Team Rocket and no one likes cheaters. Don’t be like Team Rocket.