The first player to ever hit level 40 in Pokémon Go is Jimmie Pitts who recently said in an interview that he spent a total of $700 on the game (about $80 a week). Now Jimmie has confirmed that leveling up to 40 gets you banned from gyms.
After Jimmie reached level 40, he explained his dilemma on Reddit:
So I became level 40 just about a week ago, and right around that time I started getting a weird gym error. It disabled all interactions with gyms, can’t check pokemon in them, can’t do anything gym related at all! Thought it would go away and it didn’t. The weird part is other top players around the world also have this glitch. The one and only jdero, and a guy in Europe who hit 40 last night, along with 2 other 39-40 players im my city who actually have the glitch as well. We’ve tried everything as far as logging in on different devices and service providers and NOTHING works. Sent in just about a million emails to niantic, obviously no answer from them…..so yea pretty crazy you reach the end and this is what happens….
It was previously believed that reaching level 40 was impossible to do in less than a year but if you’re willing to clean out your savings and give up hours of sleep then reaching level 40 is possible. Niantic has not yet clarified the reasoning behind this gym banning but perhaps when more players reach level 40, they will remove the ban. As one Reddit user pointed out, this could be a glitch but it’s not like there are anyone who can report it since it only happens to level 40 players.
Reddit user jdero also confirmed that this ban happened to him as well:
can confirm this glitch occurred for me well AFTER I hit level 39, and logged in just to add this distinction – I was able to take gyms just fine during gym night – but during ACL, i was unable to interact with a gym after they tweeted about the update being in a “rollout” state. Can vouch for the programming likelihood as well – (it’s likely to be an index out of bounds error where “checking that +2 is less than 40” is implemented by accessing trainer_level_bump[<trainer_level> +2] or some equally faulty implementation with an associative array.
Another Reddit user added that Jimmie Pitts may have flown too close to the sun.