The Pokemon series has a long history of players hacking or performing exploits in their save files. In older titles, players could manipulate the game for encounters because of the way the game was programmed. In the later games, players hack into their saved data to achieve the same kind of manipulations, including adding Pokemon into their game they had not actually caught. The Pokemon Company has announced it will be cracking down on Sword and Shield players with altered save data in the near future.
Since the release and introduction of raid dens in Pokemon Sword and Shield, players have been hacking their games and altering save data. It’s a fairly common occurrence for hackers to force encounters in raid battles, even guaranteed shiny encounters. Not only are these players hacking the game files, but in many cases they are using websites to sell their services. Players pay these sites for the opportunity to join raid battles for shiny and mythical Pokemon, either to receive a full Pokedex or do any number of other illicit activities.
Reported by Serebii, a news notification in Pokemon Home on January 22 says Pokemon Sword and Shield players should expect a new ban wave coming for players with altered save data. This isn’t the first time the company has banned players with illegitimate game files, as previous patches nearly eliminated hacked raid battles, but that hasn’t stopped hackers from adding in Pokemon and trading them for profit. The next wave will remove trading abilities from these players, limit their online interaction ability, and ban them from using Pokemon Home.
One common thing in Pokemon games since Wonder Trade or random trades were added is streamers and other players sending out shiny Pokemon. For the most part, these Pokemon are added into the game through altered files and have perfect stats. Players who received Pokemon from other players are not the ones who altered their save data and will not be targeted in these bans. The Pokemon Company banned Sun and Moon players using this kind of data exploit, and upcoming bans will be targeting similar types of players.
It has not been announced whether bans are going to be permanent or temporary, and players are on notice for other issues such as impairing the function of games and applications for others. Date hacking as a method of altering the game is one exploit that shouldn’t be targeted in the ban, as this doesn’t change game files. The Pokemon Company is expected to come down hard on players with this ban wave, and continue to implement measures to try to keep issues from happening going forward.
Pokemon Sword and Shield are available on the Nintendo Switch.