Pokémon Support's Response to Hacking

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Hello Jason,

This ticket is quite old and I apologize that is only being reached now, many months later. The answer to your question (concern) is a bit complicated. I’ll attempt to break things into a few parts.

Concerning live competitions (Worlds) and Wi-Fi Competitions: Pokémon are put through a two-check process: an electronic hack check and regulations download. The Regulations download (step 1) gates Pokémon from being able to use items that are not released (e.g. that a Latios would not have been able to register holding an unreleased item). It does not ban or otherwise flag the player, it simply prevents them from using that item/Pokémon in a locked battle box. If the party meets the regulation requirements, it is then run through an electronic hack-check. This hack check will test to make sure the Pokémon has moves and stats that are within legal boundaries and does some additional checks for hidden information. The process is not perfect (there are well documented issues with cosmetic things like Pokéballs) but it ensures Pokémon are within statistical legal barriers for the purpose of maintaining a fair competitive environment (e.g. Pokémon will not be able to perform attacks they cannot know, or those attacks will not be stronger than the maximum theoretical value).

These competitions are fairly rare though and would not be your typical play experience.

Battlespot/online battles/online trades: all Pokémon that are sent online are checked against the electronic hack check (described above) that ensures that are within statistical theoretical maximums. The electronic hack check though does not flag unreleased items as being impossible (this is checked for regulations in competitions, but as your battle box is not locked in regular Wi-Fi battles or trades, you never encounter this gate). This is an issue that is being worked on but it is part of development and progress is not public or shared with the customer service team.

Concerning Datel and other hack tools: these tools have been reported to GameFreak by the customer service team on behalf of customers like you who have logged complaints. Sometimes there are patches released for the game to specifically address weaknesses these tools exploit. In addition, the electronic hack check is also updated (not with a patch) fairly regularly to improve what is caught. Beyond reporting though there is no additional action the CS team can take. The unfortunate reality in this situation is that these tools are typically one-step ahead and that we then need to respond to them, which requires investing time and man power (and testing) into a system-wide patch.

Options: As outlined above, we are fairly strong in enforcement for competitions due to the additional regulation download step. In addition, at live competitions, failing the electronic hack check means disqualification and potential additional suspension. Within the online environment though, we cannot flag individual accounts. We do prevent teams from entering in competitions with impossible items because we have the regulation download step, but for regular Wi-Fi battling only the electronic hack check is applied. The main option we have, aside from preventing these Pokémon in our competitions, is periodic updates of the electronic hack check and periodic system wide patches to fix hacking exploits.

The short of it:

  • We are strong with preventing illegal stat Pokémon and impossible items for competitions (with regulation download)
  • The electronic hack check does a good job in stopping illegal stats in random battles or trading but has trouble with flagging impossible (unreleased) items – this hack check does get updated periodically though
  • The CS team cannot ban individual accounts online but players can be banned from official live competitions if they are caught through the electronic hack check
  • Most (possibly all) publicly known hacks have been reported to GameFreak for investigation – what progress is made in combating these though is not shared with the CS team
  • System wide game patches are periodically released to combat issues

Again, Jason, my apologies that this is so incredibly late in reaching you. We do not enjoy hacking within the Pokémon environment and try to do what we can, but it is a difficult process and often we are reacting (which takes time).

Thank you,

-Pokémon Support

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