Pokémon Go temporarily won’t make you leave the house due to coronavirus

Niantic/The Pokémon Company

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the world, entire businesses and industries are shifting to accommodate increased social distancing. In the case of Pokémon Go, a game that typically requires you to go out into the real world and congregate around points of interest, Niantic will temporarily change various mechanics to help increase the safety of its players.

In a statement to Polygon, a Niantic representative said that the studio is currently “prioritizing updates to Pokémon GO features and experiences that can be enjoyed in individual settings.” Notably, the game will be increasing habitats so that trainers can see more monsters nearby while playing closer to home.

Incense packs, which increase monster spawns, are also going on 99% discount — and when they’re active, they will now last an hour.

Incubators, which ask players to accrue a certain number of steps before hatching eggs containing Pokémon, will now be more effective. “Trainers can hatch Eggs twice as fast,” Niantic said.

Finally, PokéStops are dropping Gifts with more frequency. All of these changes are in effect immediately, and will continue until “further notice,” Niantic told Polygon. In addition to these tweaks, Niantic has already postponed its previously-planned Abra Community Day, along with some other real-world events. Existing events, such as the first season of the game’s Battle League, will allow players to compete with one another without being in the same place, while the upcoming Special Research adventure that will debut Genesect will require tasks that can be “completed by individuals,” Niantic says.

“While we’ve made these updates based on the current global health situation, we also encourage players to make decisions on where to go and what to do that are in the best interest of their health and the health of their communities,” Niantic said.


Cool. And I live in a small town where the nearest gym or stop is still quite a ways away so I still 100% have to leave the house to play the game.

Just another example of how people in rural settings will never get the full, fair experience while playing this game.

Find any kind of statue, memorial plaque or historic site. Submit that to Niantic to make a new stop (assuming you or someone you know is high enough level to meet the requirement).

Just got 30 incense for 1 coin! Amazing.

So they’ll add accessibility features for those homebound or immobile when it might affect their bottom line, or them personally. Seems quick and easy – will this all be removed later, meaning it’s still not a good time for a person with limited mobility to enjoy this popular game?

These are not accessibility features. Harsh as it may sound, PoGo is not a game for home-bound people; it was designed around encouraging people to go out and take long walks. It’s the game’s core identity. If you take away everything that actually makes it necessary to go out, people will stop going out and the whole purpose will be ruined.

They’re doing it now because the majority of their players are required to stay home as a public health emergency. So they chose to 1) not encourage them to leave at a time when leaving literally kills people and 2) give them a way to keep playing while they’re stuck at home, so they don’t have to take a break for 2+ weeks.

All of it is aimed at their existing players. PoGo is a walking game and it’s not going to change unless the world’s population is for some reason forced to permanently stay at home.

PoGo is not really a game for peeople living outside of San Fran.

I play it in rural Kentucky just fine.

Yeah, what are those millions of other players around the globe up to, playing a Trashfransisco ONLY game. The nerve of some people!

If Nintendo and its related brands weren’t already known for being the worst at accessibility, this would be understandable, but this does show that there’s an easy fix that would work for those that are home bound, and others could still walk around etc. This would be an easy win for them in that regard.

>Incense packs, which increase monster spawns, are also going on 99% discount — and when they’re active, they will now last an hour.

Why not 100% free? Are they unable to resist the urge to collect unsuspecting parents credit card details from kids to better facilitate future transactions.

The promotion is 30 Incense pack for 1 gold coin. No cost involved really for 99% players.

the improved rate of incense is 1 pokemon spawning per minute. it lasts 60 minutes. with 30 incense, that’s 1800 pokemon. not including some easaping their balls, or bad throws the average player will probably need to use about 20~2200 balls to catch everything that spawns, on top of normal spawns players may see. they just made it so the best way to play is to go sit at a stop and spin.

on top of that, there are still events going on that encourage raids, which require multiple people (4+ people). this means roving gangs of player walking and driving all over town.

they took a very minor first step into working on this, but they still have a ways to go before it’s an actual solution that doesn’t also push people to get out of the house and walk about.

Yeah. This is my one major problem: I’ve run out of Pokeballs and can’t get more. I don’t get enough gifts to replenish them. So my only way to keep playing is to spend a fortune on Pokeballs from the shop, which is… not ideal.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite offered cheaper Trace Detection potions and has Spell Energy on the ground again.

I wonder what Ingress is doing?

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