Hold On! Gimme A Sec

After a backlash from fans, Pokémon Go’s social-distancing measures are being expanded once more.

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Update:

Niantic is reversing one of the most divisive changes to Pokémon Go made during the pandemic. The distance between players and Pokéstops and gyms has been increased from 40 to 80 metres. This change was announced in a series of tweets on Pokémon Go’s official account, just weeks after Niantic reverted it to the shorter version. Fans complained that Niantic was reverting the game to its pre-pandemic state too quickly, and that the company was ignoring the latest pandemic developments, such as the rise of the Delta variant. It’s great to see Niantic listen to its fans and make the game safer for everyone once again.

Other “plans” for the popular game are also on the way, according to the tweets, but we won’t know what they are until September 1. The new Pokéstop distance is in effect right now, and it doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

Original Story:

Despite rising case numbers from Covid-19’s Delta variant, Pokémon Go is slowly reverting to its pre-pandemic state, beginning with a change to gyms and Pokéstops that requires players to approach these locations closer. Niantic announced in June that changes would be coming to bring people back together after 15 months of updates that made Pokémon Go an exceptional social-distancing experience, but as the pandemic worsened, players assumed these plans would be put on hold. That was not the case. The first changes went into effect on Sunday, and fans are dissatisfied with the decision, which has been backed up by a petition signed by more than 135,000 people.

During the pandemic, Niantic doubled the number of gyms and stops that players could interact with. The original interaction ring had a circumference of about 40 metres, but it was expanded to 80 metres. The hope was that by making this change, people would be safer because they wouldn’t be crammed in as tightly, and some players would be able to reach these locations without having to leave their homes. Players clearly enjoyed having double the range, and seeing it reduced has a significant impact on how they interact with the game.

In addition to the distance alternate, Niantic is encouraging its player base to venture outside of their comfort zone and explore new territory by offering a substantial 10x experience point bonus for visiting new Pokéstops. The incense item, which now has increased effectiveness, encourages people to get outside and walk.

The Remote Raids, which are by far the most popular of the pandemic-related content, have remained unchanged for the time being, but Niantic has stated that it will make changes in the future. The developer claims in an official blog post that “Remote Raids have grown in importance in the game over the last year, and we’ll continue to improve them. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months as we work to find the right balance between remote and in-person play. Many of these changes to in-person raids are being made in preparation for the return of EX Raids.”

Niantic hasn’t issued an official statement in response to the recent rollbacks, but the player base has spoken out on social media and Reddit, with some saying they’ll stop playing and delete the game in protest.

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