Niantic have announced that the increased PokeStop and Gym interaction distance introduced in lockdown for Pokemon Go will be permanent.
As previously reported, Niantic had implemented several features to the augmented reality game to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these included being able to interact with a PokeStop and Gym from a greater distance. These are real-life locations- typically landmarks- that players can interact with to earn in-game items. At Gyms, players can also leave their own Pokemon to earn in-game currency.
However, the lockdown bonuses were only ever intended to be in place for a limited time. Niantic had previously announced certain bonuses would be permanent as quality of life improvements, but the PokeStop and Gym interaction distance would be reduced from 80 meters to the usual 40 meters.
This outraged fans, with #HearUsNiantic rallying to keep the extra distance. An open letter by @LeekDuck proposed that it was not only safer for players (avoiding crossing roads or other risks, especially during the pandemic), but also aided those with accessibility issues or caring for young children, and avoided crowding locations for “non-Trainers.” A boycott petition called for 200,000 signatures, reaching 196,515.
Niantic responded that they would assemble a team to develop proposes to keep their mission of encouraging players to walk and explore, while addressing the concerns fans had. They would also be reaching out to community leaders to “join us in this dialogue.”
While their findings were intended to be shared September 1st (along with the launch of the next game season), Niantic have revealed one factor early. The increased 80 meter interaction distance will be permanent.
“Trainers – we’re looking forward to sharing our plans as a result of the task force on September 1, but one thing does not have to wait! From now on, 80 meters will be the base interaction radius for PokéStops and Gyms globally.
Thank you to everyone who made your voices heard. We’ve heard you and understand that this has been a welcome benefit to many players. We’ll share more next week.”
In earlier news, Pokemon Go made $5 billion USD in lifetime revenue across five years. Even a pandemic could not stop fans; as UK Essex Police faced backlash in January of this year over their handling of players breaking COVID-19 lockdown. They had made note of the offenders being men over 30 years old.
Image: Pokemon Go official website