Over the past week or so, the Pokemon GO community has been up in arms about recent changes made by Niantic. Or rather, it would be more accurate to say Niantic rolled back some earlier changes. Modifications made to the game during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic were undone, just as case numbers are on an uptick due to variants and… politics? After a sustained fervor on social media, Niantic has responded.
Niantic largely defends its decision in this statement, noting that health guidelines favor going outside and taking walks as a healthy and safe activity during the situation. Niantic states that its “mission” is to get players outside and walking around, but that the company will also continue to monitor guidelines as they shift.
The biggest issue out of all has to do with distance requirements. During the pandemic peak Niantic doubled the allowance from 40 meters to 80. This change was made so that folks staying home could still have chances to interact with things like Gyms and Pokestops. Niantic gave lip service to that matter specifically, and noted a “task force” has been established to work on the matter. This team will be reaching out to “community leaders” for data.
Whatever that data ends up being, Niantic provides a deadline, promising to share the team’s findings by Pokemon GO’s next season change on September 1, 2021. That’s just under a month away, so we’ll see what’s coming next pretty soon.