As countries around the world attempt to bounce back from the pandemic, Niantic has decided now is the right time to undo some Pokémon GO safety and accessibility measures tied to the pandemic.
The latest update applies specifically to America and New Zealand - with the mobile AR developer announcing at the start of this month that it would be reducing the PokéStop spin distance. In other words, players will now have to be closer to them to interact.
"Previously, PokéStop and Gym interaction distances were increased, to enable people to engage from further away. After this change the distance will revert back to the standard distance, although this may be increased during future events and as part of certain features."
It's also removed bonuses - such as increased Incense effectiveness and reduced the number of gifts you can receive from Buddy pocket monsters. Unsurprisingly, it's not gone down well with the Pokémon fanbase - with some even threatening to boycott the game until the PokéStop distance is increased again.
The Twitter account PokeMiners has also revealed how PokéStop interaction is now back to 40 meters. According to this same data, the Gym distance value has stayed the same.
In response to all of this, there's even been a Change.org petition that's now got close to 150,000 signatures - calling for Niantic to keep increased interaction distances for Stops and Gyms.
Have you been impacted by these changes? What are your thoughts about all of this? Leave a comment below.
[source niantic.helpshift.com, via dotesports.com]
I’m pretty sure they reverted back the Gym distance too based on when I played today. I could have sworn at some point during the pandemic they announced that they would keep the increased distances permanently, but I guess I must be remembering that wrong.
I get having a problem with this in New Zealand where it's really hard to get a vaccine, but in the US not being vaccinated is a personal choice for almost everyone, apart from a few communities everyone who wants one can get one.
So pick a lane. The virus is a hoax and no one needs a vaccine, in which case you should have no problem going out to play, or get vaccinated. And while that doesn't reduce the chance you get COVID to zero, it does reduce it to about the same chance you get hit by a car walking around. In other words, reasonable, unavoidable risk.
@HeadPirate what about those too young for the vaccine, or those who don't want to potentially expose their kids if they get a breakthrough infection? Not saying I disagree with you, but the high transmission rate of the delta variant and pockets of unmasked unvaccinated people have made it a bit more difficult to ensure the safety of not only yourself but also other vulnerable people around you. So still not a good look to encourage unnecessary congregation.
Just stop playing this garbage game?
I really don't understand why they would do this to be honest - I was playing the game so much more with the boosted distances, but I just can't play as much now they've reduced it because I can't reach gyms at times when people are there to play them (I'm at work) and I've stopped playing daily because I can't reach a pokestop easily on my commute. The boosts got me back into the game, and I've even ended up spending money in it. I'm sure there's an economic reason for it, but I can't work out what it is.
Well I mean let's keep this about video games as much as possible. The fact is this is a game where you walk around and interact (kinda?) with the environment, it fundamentally goes against the vison of the developers to keep it indoors ... as well as it's business model. It makes additional money off driving people into locations with stops.
What about the people who are too young or can't get the polio vaccine? They don't get polio because we eradicated it with a vaccine, and I don't think Nordic has any onus to modify their game because some countries are really, REALLY too friendly with science deniers. The solution is there, vaccinate your population.
As for a breakthrough infection, you might get hit with a meteor right now. 418 people in the US are killed by lightening each year, which is going to be in line with the number of fatal breakthrough cases expected. You can not be 100% safe. The fact that people are terrified of miniscule risks because they can't stand the thought of agency is again, not Nordic's fault.
To a vaccinated person getting into a car is 1000s of times more likely to kill you then COVID. There is a point where you have to say "This risk is unavoidable"
That's some drama, if I ever saw some!
NINJA APPROVES BETTER GAMES
@HeadPirate again we aren't talking about a fatal breakthrough case in someone vaccinated but potentially spreading said breakthrough case to someone vulnerable. I agree everyone should be vaccinated but it isn't even an option for all in the US. And you're right it's their game, but I and many other just think it's not a good time to so this regardless of why cases are rising.
"And the community isn't happy."
This could be the tagline for every single Pokemon article.
They should just make the game playable from home at this point.
That you can reach every gym and pokestop that you can see on the map.
I don't care about the covid stuff, I just want to be lazy and not have to move around.
Something that springs to mind is that it’s not one vaccine but two. A lot of people myself included are in the twilight zone of only having had the first dose.
Niantic really don't care about their fans. Look at all the improvements we keep requesting but they keep ignoring, eg the ability to discard eggs and send gifts in bulk.
This is just another case of treating the fans badly.
I think they should keep some sort of longer distance as a quality of life feature (although probably not double) but Pokemon Go is a socially distanced outdoor activity which means pretty much no covid risk (and it keeps you fit as well) so I don't think the health concerns are very valid tbh
Removed - inappropriate
@HeadPirate what about those of us who are unable to get vaccinated due to long term complications post Covid?
Not only is it irresponsible for Niantic to revert back to pre-COVID Poké Stop distances, in the middle of the Delta variant surge, it's indicative of a wider, upsetting trend: a return to inaccessibility. I know most people don't care about Pokémon GO, I know most people think it's kind of ridiculous to conflate Niantic's decisions with wider sociological trends. but it's all connected.
In 2020 the world had to very quickly change the way things were done. Working from home. Food delivery. Creating more effective ways to cater to a home-bound population. In other words: able bodied people suddenly required accommodations disabled people have always needed. After sixty seconds in lockdown everyone was already talking about "when things go back to normal." Not "Huh. Maybe there are things we should be learning from this experience."
For a lot of people, the COVID features in Pokémon Go were the first time they could really enjoy the game. First of all, disabled people who are housebound or who otherwise can't walk/travel regularly have been able to participate! But honestly, it was more accessible for everyone really. Niantic, however, seems to see accessibility as a negative.
I read somewhere that Niatic was being pressured by sponsored pokestop businesses to reduce the radius back to 40 so people would be more likely to have to go into those places to use them rather than from the parking lot, on the road, etc.
My personal gripe with it is how hard it is to reach some of the stops near me. With the boosted radius, I could grab a bunch of stops walking to work and walking in the park. Now I have to take detours to get the same stops, potentially crossing roads or going into more crowded areas. It just makes the game harder to play, but not in a fun way.
They can do whatever they want, it's their game, but it will absolutely reduce player engagement and ultimately cost them money.
It occurs to me that if you're an active social justice warrior, surely there are better uses for your time than catching a pretend animal on your phone or complaining on a forum that you are being put in danger by an evil corporation when you decide to go collect your pretend pokeballs. Just sayin.
@HeadPirate As someone who's vaccinated in the US... A: It's going to encourage more people getting closer to each other, and let's face it, ~25% of the population will never get the vaccine so we're going to keep getting new strains until something totally vaccine resistant comes along.
That aside though? It really sucks. There's several Pokestops I've been using that are now essentially unavailable to me because of awkward placement. One in particular I was standing literally next to the landmark in question and I wasn't in range yesterday, and there's a fence preventing getting close enough now. Even 60 meters would be a more reasonable number just in terms of Pokestops being comfortably reachable from the street / parking lot / sidewalk.
I stopped playing a few weeks ago, but I remember thinking the reduction was going to be tough. Thankfully, it's not my problem anymore.
"Really goes to show:
Main Series: Silently listens to feedback and adjusts next gen"
But do they? I feel like the Main Series has slowly slipped away from what fans want with each generation. They have become more focused on making the games easier and more accessible to extend their reach rather than pleasing their fans.
Get yourself an iPad connected to Ethernet, get yourself a dongle and spoof. Ever since the pandemic and working a 12 hr job from home and having 0 anything in a 6 block radius from me I have been basically unable to play the game outside of incense (and that’s gone now too). Once I started spoofing mixed with a local raiding discord I can now fully enjoy the game more than I have in the 5 years I’ve been playing on normally. I suggest most other people getting shafted by niantic do the same.
Honestly as a daily player, this doesn't actually bother me much. Just strikes me as very unneeded. They didn't increase them that much to begin with.
But this is Pokemon, a community that's always looking for the next thing to be "outraged" about. Be it tree textures or Pokestop spin distance. 🤔
@Strictlystyles Just FYI, Niantic has banned people for that. Not trying to tell you what to do, but just in case you hadn't heard before.
@Heavyarms55 you cannot get banned for hardware spoofing, only spoofing using modified apps.
For example, using iTools on your pc will get you banned. Using iTools Bluetooth dongle and legitimately spoofing the gps location on your device will not, which is why as a fail safe they have up to a 2 hr cool down to prevent people from abusing it. I just spoof my local area (I live in the US New York area) so there’s little to no risk.
I agree that this change is totally unnecessary but the Pokemon Go community is probably the most toxic I've ever come across and will always have something to complain about. If it wasn't this issue it would be another.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the increased stop distance. I'd understand if, say, they allowed you to spin any stops on the map, but they literally just doubled the distance before. This, along with decreased incense effectiveness, feels unnecessary.
Covid aside, the distance increase made some stops and gyms in populated or dangerous locations easier to access without crossing busy streets or needing to be near crowds (My instinct even pre-pandemic). I've read many stories about how the pandemic changes made the game more accessible for those who have mobility issues or serious illnesses. There's a guy with Crohn's in my community who literally cannot leave his home in the current environment due to the risk of falling ill. The changes were an absolute godsend for him.
Main Series: Silently listens to feedback and adjusts next gen
@DrAwkward I agree with @HeadPirate that having increased range does kind of destroy the point of the game. But yeah, this wasn’t a great time to remove them, especially in the US.
@Ooyah HAHA. Greatest comment I ever read on this site.
I don't get it. Why would they do this NOW???
@a1904 The current distance in USA and New Zealand is going to have everyone huddled together, thus making it more likely to spread COVID. Double distance gave everyone so much more breathing room and space.
The thing is… GO doesn't need to listen to fan feedback.
It's the biggest money maker for The Pokémon Company there is, and it's Nintendo's biggest success in mobile gaming (though Fire Emblem Heroes isn't too shabby either).
Pokémon mainline games do make gazillions of dollars, but they've also got high competition to live up to - other versions of Pokémon. So they need to keep selling as well or even better than their predecessors. And that means listening to fans.
Pokémon GO sells more and more continuously than any Pokémon mainline game. If a Pokémon game cart is $60.00, that's the amount many players spend on a monthly basis in the game just to buy more in-game currency to spend on egg incubators and stardust and whatnot. There's a feedback loop with the constant events that drives people to spend more and more money in the game. And because creatures can now be sent to Pokémon HOME - albeit at a variable but relatively slow rate, unless you spend money - there's an incentive to keep catching more and more and not just dump all your creatures.
It's really kinda insidious, and the eggs are a sort of loot box. I've sunk way too much money and time into the game and am currently on a break. I'm also a little indignant because several months ago I bought a ticket to the annual event that happened in July, only to find out that the very days it was happening was when my grandfather's funeral was set for… so I'd be missing the event. It's nobody's fault but myself for buying the ticket to the event over a month in advance, before I knew about the funeral. But the whole game just seems a little money grubby, so I'm on a pause. But why shouldn't it be? It's an outright capitalistic success.
Moral of the story: screw capitalism, embrace socialism; abolish loot boxes and gambling in video games
ALOHA everyone, need new friends please
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