The conflict between Niantic and players who use illegal third-party apps in Pokémon Go continues. A new update from Niantic brands Pokémon Go cheaters with an actual mark of shame, although players are figuring out some of the limitations in Niantic's latest anti-cheater update.
An official Niantic Support account posted on the SilphRoad subreddit yesterday that the company will be updating the game in order for Pokémon Go to continue as "a fun and fair experience for all trainers." In that regard, Niantic will give a slash mark for all Pokémon caught via a third-party service not approved by Niantic's terms and services. These Pokémon will also "not behave as expected."
With the announcement of Raid Battles and the new battle features, we are staying true on our commitment to ensuring that Pokémon GO continues to be a fun and fair experience for all Trainers. Starting today, Pokémon caught using third-party services that circumvent normal gameplay will appear marked with a slash in the inventory and may not behave as expected. We are humbled by the excitement for all the new features we announced yesterday.This is one small part of our continued commitment to maintaining the integrity of our community and delivering an amazing Pokémon GO experience.
Niantic's post doesn't detail what exactly the developers mean by that last bit, but since the initial posts more details have come forward from players affected by the slash marks.
One Twitter user, @OKRODRIGO, posted a video of him scrolling through his Pokémon roster. You can clearly see which Pokémon were affected as there is a thin red slash running through them.
On Reddit, players are learning more and more about what exactly these slash marks work. One player on Reddit reports that the slash marks disappear if players evolve their marked Pokémon, which is a pretty simple workaround (unless your marked Pokémon doesn't evolve). Other than that, marked Pokémon also don't give players gandy if transferred to the Professor, which could be part of what Niantic means when the developers talk about unexpected behavior.
Users are pretty confident that the third-party services Niantic is referring to are bots which can be automated to run Pokémon Go for you. Alongside bots, which basically play the game for you, capturing gyms and racking up steps, there are map services which tell you where to find rare Pokémon and spoofing which allows users to trick their phone's GPS, teleporting them to whichever destination they need to go.
Niantic and Pokémon Go cheaters have been butting heads for a while, and Niantic has recently stepped up their fight against spoofers by blinding accounts so that some trainers only see common Pokémon. Time will tell where this Pokémon arms race leads next.