Pokémon GO
Image: Niantic / Pokémon GO

Following on from Pokémon GO players threatening to boycott the popular mobile game, Niantic has now officially responded to complaints about reverting PokéStop and Gym interaction distance in America and New Zealand.

In a lengthy message, the developer says it has "heard the feedback" from the community, In response to this it will be assembling an "internal cross-functional team" to preserve the game's mission of inspiring exploration while addressing the specific concerns raised about interaction distance.

The findings of this "task force" will then be shared by the next in-game season change on 1st September. Community leaders will also be approached in the coming days to participate in this dialogue.

To our Pokémon GO community:

We appreciate your letter and all of your feedback. We hear you. We are humbled by your response. Not every game has such a passionate, global player base that we’re fortunate enough to have.

Like everyone else around the world, our team has been working very hard to adapt to the global health environment. The recent Exploration Bonus changes we’ve made in the U.S. and New Zealand are designed to restore some of the foundational elements players enjoyed prior to 2020, and reward players once again for moving and exploring. Encouraging people to explore, exercise and safely play together in person remains Niantic’s mission.

The health and wellbeing of players is our top priority, which is why we have implemented the new Exploration Bonuses in select geographies where it is deemed safe to be outdoors. Research has shown that taking walks outside is safe and confers several health benefits. Furthermore, encouraging outdoor exploration is in keeping with Niantic’s mission. That said, we will continue to monitor health and safety guidance related to outdoor activities, and will make future changes if necessary.

We have heard your feedback about one change in particular - that of the PokéStop and Gym interaction distance. We reverted the interaction distance from 80 meters back to the original 40 meters starting in the U.S. and New Zealand because we want people to connect to real places in the real world, and to visit places that are worth exploring.

However, we have heard your input loud and clear and so to address the concerns you have raised, we are taking the following actions: We are assembling an internal cross-functional team to develop proposals designed to preserve our mission of inspiring people to explore the world together, while also addressing specific concerns that have been raised regarding interaction distance. We will share the findings of this task force by the next in game season change (September 1). As part of this process, we will also be reaching out to community leaders in the coming days to join us in this dialogue.

Our goal is to build fun and engaging experiences that remain true to our mission, and we thank you for challenging us with thoughtful and constructive feedback.

-The Niantic Team

You can get the community's side of the story in our article from earlier today:

If there are any other updates shared, we'll be sure to let you know.

[source nianticlabs.com]