Niantic responds to Pokémon GO fans upset over pandemic changes reverting

August 6, 2021
Pokémon GO

Niantic has issued a response to the Pokémon GO community who have been up in arms since developer Niantic started rolling back changes made during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winding down thanks to vaccination and social distancing measures, Niantic has recently reverted many changes made to Pokémon GO which were made to sustain the game while players were actively encouraged not to go outside. 

While fans have been understanding for the majority of these changes, the recent reduction in PokéStop radius back to 40 meters, down from 80 meters during the worst of the pandemic, has made fans of the game upset, with many even calling for a boycott. 

It’s not all just that Pokémon GO players just don’t want to have to walk as far, as many community members explain that increased PokéStop distances are better for accessibility, as well as safety.

With the extended radius of PokéStop, players were able to avoid crossing dangerous streets and potentially even trespassing on private property to get right up to a poorly placed PokéStop. Disabled trainers were also often able to avoid having to climb stairs or ascend steep inclines thanks to the doubled radius, Leek Duck explains in a tweet

“We appreciate your letter and all of your feedback. We hear you. We are humbled by your response,” Pokémon GO developer Niantic said in a statement to address fans concerns. 

“The health and wellbeing of players is our top priority,” the Niantic team went on to explain, saying that this priority “is why we have implemented the new Exploration Bonuses in select geographies where it is deemed safe to be outdoors.” 

While Exploration Bonuses are nice, Niantic understands that they don’t address the concerns of the community as in the post they go on to reveal that they’re “assembling an internal cross-functional team to develop proposals designed to preserve our mission of inspiring people to explore the world together, while also addressing specific concerns that have been raised regarding interaction distance.”

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This task force is expected to deliver its findings by September 1st so hopefully, appropriate changes can be implemented into Pokémon GO after that date. 

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