Niantic, the company that released Pokemon GO, arguably one of the most popular AR games in the world, recently announced that they had banned upwards of five million players – for violating rules related to cheating on all of its mobile games.
The company, which has published Pokemon GO, Harry Potter – Wizards Unite and the original Ingress, took to its blog to inform users about its AntiCheat efforts, stating that since the beginning of last year, they had issued “punishments” to over five million cheaters across the three games and that 20 percent of these were permanent bans.
Right now, the company is working on the detection methods, using a mix of player reports for “ground truth” and other feedback channels in order to correctly identify players who are cheating and also detect false positives. The company added that it doesn’t talk much about its efforts against cheating because it doesn’t want to tip off cheaters with information on how to bypass the detection systems that are in place.
All of Niantic’s games also do not work on jailbroken or rooted devices – the company uses Google’s Safetynet detection to identify users who have rooted their devices and might be capable of modifying the game in order to cheat. The company has urged users to download the games only from the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store or the Samsung Galaxy Store.
In another interesting statistic, Niantic said its policy seemed to be working – over 90 percent of users stopped cheating after receiving their first warning, according to the company. It added that it was investing in new and emerging technologies and a larger team to enhance detection and enforcement. “We’ll continue to act against those who violate our terms of service and we’ll be reinforcing our efforts in the coming week,” the company said.