Niantic has slapped Brandon Tan with a Pokémon GO ban. Recognised as one of the most prominent players around the world, when accessing the location-based game he is now met with the message: “Your account has been suspended for violating the Terms of Service. Visit the Help Center for more information.”
Despite his confusion about the situation, it’s easy to work out why. The Newspaper reported how Tan has charged players $25 an hour to power level their accounts, sitting near a PokéStop with four iPads to spin photo discs and hurl Poké Balls at any pocket monsters that he soon attracts.
He started that business soon after Pokémon GO had launched, quitting his job as an insurance agent as the social phenomenon that the game sparked soon saw him start to earn $200-300 per night along with the revenue that he received from his YouTube channel.
Tan has since started to sell Pokémon that he has caught to players, that, most recently, has seen him start a Mewtwo Service. “I am providing Mewtwo service which consist of any IV, IV 95%+, and IV100%. Service will be available till the 23rd October,” he advertised on Twitter.
This is in direct violation of Niantic’s guidelines, where the developer writes:
“Don’t do it. Play fair. Pokémon GO is meant to be played on a mobile device and get you outside to explore your world! Methods of cheating, unfortunately, are limited only by cheaters’ imaginations, but include at a minimum the following: using modified or unofficial software; playing with multiple accounts (one account per player, please); sharing accounts; using tools or techniques to alter or falsify your location; or selling/trading accounts.”
Tan managed to do 485 Metwo Raids last week, which, he explains, on average saw him participate in 69 Raids per day. In that time he only saw and caught one perfect Mewtwo, and, today, the suspension meant that he missed out on 19 Raids.
We can speculate that Niantic is likely concerned that Tan will sell his stockpile of the Genetic Pokémon on to other players, and have made the move to intervene before that can happen. That, and he reportedly has five Pokémon GO accounts that, again, breaches the guidelines.