Pokémon Go developer Niantic has announced a set of changes and future intentions following the community’s outcry to its handling of COVID-19 related alterations.
Following the announcement that the interaction radius for PokéStops and Gyms would be kept at 80 meters instead of the previously proposed 40 meters, Niantic has also said that it intends to roll out seasonal bonuses on a global level, rather than country-by-country. It has also set out plans to keep in closer contact with players via regular developer diaries and conversations with community leaders.
Starting in October, Niantic will publish a developer diary every other month that explains the company’s current priorities, events, and planned features for the game. Additionally, the Known Issues page on the Pokémon Go website will be updated to allow greater visibility of the status of bugs.
Following the outcry about PokéStops and Gyms having their interaction radius reduced, Niantic spoke with 30 community leaders from around the world. The developer intends to continue these conversations on a regular basis.
In a statement released by Niantic, executive producer Steve Wang said “The lack of communication regarding the PokéStop and Gym interaction radius was not handled well on our part, and it was a great learning experience on how to better engage with our players moving forward.”
While the distances for PokéStops and Gyms will stay at 80 meters, Wang still hopes to encourage people to head out into the world. “We still believe in the importance of discovering interesting places and things in the real world, and we don’t want to lose sight of that,” he said. “The team and I are eager to develop new ways that motivate and reward Trainers for exploring and exercising in the real world. As a result of the task force, we have new ideas to explore and we look forward to sharing more in the coming months.”
Additionally, the developer’s experience with adjusting settings for New Zealand in response to the country’s lockdown has encouraged it to abandon a country-by-country approach and opt for global changes. Starting with the Season of Mischief, all bonuses will be set at a global level and be tied directly to the seasons in the game.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Niantic made several changes to Pokémon Go to make it easier to play during lockdown conditions. These changes were enthusiastically received by the community as it not only permitted play during quarantine but also opened up the game to disabled players and other groups who previously struggled to play. The rollback of these changes sparked community backlash, online fury, and an eventual back and forth between Niantic and fans in search of a solution.Source: IGN