Pokemon GO down? No, I'm just banned

Soft bans and hard bans are popping up early today from Niantic as the company attempts to cut down a new wave of Pokemon GO cheaters. Of course not ALL of the users that the company has deemed less than on-the-level are actual cheaters – but quite a few (or most) of them are. I knew that my account was banned because I'd been keeping up on Pokemon IV levels with an IV checker – whoops!

How does a person such as myself know that my Pokemon GO account was banned? I wasn't able to log in. My loading screen never passed the Gyarados screen's loading bar. Other users that've been banned have experienced other types of signs – one of which is reaching the Gyarados screen, but past loading, seeing a message that says "Failed to log in – Retry – Try a different account."

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That doesn't ALWAYS mean that an account is banned, but it's very often the screen that banned users will end up seeing.

There's also a set of Soft Bans that are in effect for lesser offenses – like moving too far too fast. GPS spoofing, that is to say. Niantic isn't necessarily able to detect whether or not some spoofing is actual spoofing or actual quick movements on the part of the user, so they inflict Soft Bans.

A Soft Ban still allows the user to log in and walk around, but Pokemon that appear will run away the first time they escape from a Pokeball. Pokestops will be allowed to spin, but nothing will pop out. Pokemon Gyms will error out.

Soft Bans are generally over between 1-3 hours after they've been inflicted – unless the user tries to cheat again. Repeated detections of cheating can result in a hard ban – it's happened!

Thus far we've not heard whether or not a hard ban results in a Pokemon GO account being deleted – but logging in being blocked is pretty much the same thing.

Again – users that find themselves unable to log in this morning aren't necessarily banned, but if they've been using any number of cheats and can't log in this morning, chances are pretty good they're kicked. Users should check emails for the BANNED email sent by Niantic to be sure.