Pokemon GO
Image: Pokemon / Niantic

Pokémon GO developer Niantic has announced a set of updates for the app which will strip away some of the changes made earlier this year, originally designed to keep players safe by allowing them to play at home.

As of 1st October at 1pm PDT, the following changes will be made:

  • Hatch Distance will return to normal for Eggs.
  • The increased effectiveness of Incense will now apply only while walking.
  • Your Buddy Pokémon will now bring you Gifts only when you have nearly run out. This will happen only once per day.
  • You will still have a higher chance of getting a Gift when you spin a PokéStop. However, you won’t be guaranteed to get a Gift.

The decision has caused a great deal of upset among the Pokémon GO community, with fans questioning the company's decision to remove the tweaks in the middle of the ongoing pandemic. As many have pointed out on social media, some locations are restricted by nationwide or local lockdowns, while others are seeing cases rise day-by-day, so why is Niantic asking players to leave their homes to get full use out of the app?

As an example, here's a quick look at COVID-19 cases in the UK and US – in the former, reported cases are higher than they've ever been.

Some players are suggesting that the "community trust is being damaged" as a result of Niantic's actions.

Niantic says, "When possible, people are generally encouraged to spend time outside, go on walks, and exercise for their mental and physical health—all while social distancing and abiding by other health and safety recommendations."

Other safety tweaks – such as your maximum number of gifts, Incense duration and Remote Raids – remain intact for the time being.