Niantic Disables GO Battle League to Address a Serious Exploit

Pokemon GO PvP
Pokemon GO PvP

In order to investigate a serious exploit, Niantic has suspended the GO Battle League system six hours ago. The system is suspended until further notice.

The exploit, which was confirmed and documented to be used by at least one player, allowed players to generate extra energy from Fast moves during their Charged move animation.

It is still unclear how the exploit works, but various Trainers noticed that a player named JesusG1310 was able to fire off multiple Charge attacks in impossible scenarios. JesusG1310 raised to the top of GBL leader board in record time as well, which should be impossible by design given the low number of battles the offender participated in:

Kieng, an avid Pokémon GO PvP player, posted about this on Twitter, following a thread of reports posted by other players on Reddit and Twitter:

Niantic has shared an official statement about the GO Battle League shutdown. We’re sharing it here in full.

Note to Trainers Regarding GO Battle League Exploit

Trainers, we want to comment on the various “exploit” posts from the past two days and the underlying situation.
As a team, we believe there is a “contract of trust” in GO Battle League: you should always feel your knowledge and skill determine the outcome of your battles. Cheating directly attacks this trust contract, and we have zero tolerance for it.
Because of this zero tolerance policy and the current situation, we’ve disabled GO Battle League.
We’re equally serious about our policy of never commenting on the details of investigations into individual accounts. Here’s what we can share.
When a possible exploit is identified, we follow this process:
  1. Analyze the issue – Data analysis is the most important work we do during this process. Rash action (i.e. no analysis) can solve the immediate issue; however, it leaves the door open for the exploit to return in the future.
  2. Determine severity – Based on our analyses, we determine (a) the level of technical knowledge needed to abuse the exploit and (b) how badly the exploit harms the integrity of GO Battle League.
  3. Mitigate accordingly
Based on the above outlined steps, the disabling of GO Battle League means we’ve arrived at the “mitigation” step of our process for the current situation. There is plenty of work happening behind the scenes, and we’ll re-enable GO Battle League once we’re confident the “trust contract” will be honored.
Antonio started the Hub in July 2016 and hasn't had much sleep since. Software developer. Discord username: Zeroghan. 28 years old.