The Pokémon Go Community Days have been cut in half going forwards, with the events only encompassing 3 hour windows. This decision was understandably met with frustration from fans, however game director Michael Steranka has now provided some context to the changes in an interview with Kotaku.
Crucially, Niantic doesn't want Pokémon Go to be a game that can be played to its fullest extent in the comfort of your own home. Naturally, changes were required to account for the restrictions surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but Niantic is now taking a stance of trusting players to make sensible decisions on how they navigate local rules and restrictions. Steranka states that Niantic "encourages players to follow local guidelines and regulations,” but "that’s not something we are trying to police on our side".
So why the change to 3 hour sessions? Well, it's essentially to encourage people to venture out at the same time where possible. Steranka reiterates the three core pillars to Pokémon Go: "First is exploration, the second is exercise, and the third is real-world social interactions. In terms of what we gain, it’s really us intending to lean into that.”
He also goes on to state that the recent change to Incense, which will now create one encounter every 5 minutes while stationary, as opposed to one every minute previously, was designed to reinforce exploration, exercise, and real-world interactions. “It’s definitely not to make more revenue on Incense. We’re making less revenue, because the item is less useful, right? We never want Pokémon GO to be a product that you can fully complete and enjoy from your couch. And the fact of the matter is, with Incense being as powerful as it was, stationary players were able to do that, right?”
Steranka also stressed that the company is looking into options for disabled people who may not be able to take part in the Community Days, but stopped short of explaining exactly what those plans would entail.
Do you think the changes to the Community Days are justified? Let us know in the usual place.