If you found yourself banned from Pokemon GO in recent times, today may be your lucky day. Niantic has announced on their website that a small number of banned accounts have been given a reprieve — a very small number.
It wasn't that long ago that Niantic put everyone on notice that they could be banned permanently if used any GPS spoofers, emulators, unofficial software or accessed the Pokemon GO client or backend in "an unauthorised manner".
But in a new update this morning, the developer has announced that some users may have been unaware about the extent to which some add-ons would have had on the Pokemon GO infrastructure.
"Some players may not have realised that some add-on map apps do more than just show you nearby Pokemon," Niantic advised. "Each end-user app can be used as a collection tool by the app creator, invisibly collecting and forwarding data to the app creator with or without the knowledge of the end user."
According to Niantic, those apps can have an effect on their servers similar to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. "Because of this we have had to ban some accounts associated with using these add-on map tools, leading to confusion by some users about why they were banned. This is a small subset of the accounts banned."
But with some upgrades to Niantic's backend, they're now able to withstand people using add-on map tools without having to give them the boot. The Pokemon GO creator didn't expressly say that using add-on maps would result in a ban in the future, though.
"Add-on maps which scrape data from our servers still violate our Terms of Service and use of them may still result in an account ban going forward. Accounts whose sole purpose was to scrape data are not being unbanned."
Those who used websites or apps to remotely battle or deploy at gyms, catch Pokemon or mine Pokestops, however, won't be getting unbanned. Still, if you found yourself surprisingly banned over the last week or two, it might be worth checking your Pokeballs one more time. No word on whether the banned accounts will have retained all of their progression though.