And this month’s community day has been postponed.
Pokmon Go’s main selling point is the ability to roam around the real world, but now COVID-19 is out in the wild, it looks like that could be changing. I guess it’s the one thing Niantic doesn’t want players to catch.
In a blog post on Pokmon Go’s website, Niantic laid out some temporary gameplay changes which will make things easier for players to catch Pokmon from home. Players will be able to purchase a one-time bundle of 30 incense (which attracts Pokmon) for only one Pokcoin, with incense now lasting for an hour instead of 30 minutes. Eggs hatching distances have been halved, Pokstops will drop gifts more frequently, and more Pokmon will start appearing in the wild.
The upcoming Abra Community Day has also been postponed – although Niantic is yet to announce which date this will be moved to.
Although Niantic didn’t explicitly link the gameplay changes to coronavirus in the post, the developer confirmed to Polygon that the updates were made “based on the current global health situation”, and would stay in place until further notice.
“We also encourage players to make decisions on where to go and what to do that are in the best interest of their health and the health of their communities”, Niantic added.
The changes don’t come as a complete surprise: some in the community had started calling for better solo gameplay options, while the St. Louis Safari Zone event was postponed earlier this week due to concerns about COVID-19. In the announcement post for the latter, Niantic said it would “continue to think of creative ways to keep our games fun and our communities strong, while still looking out for the safety and health of all of you” – and it seems that has taken the form of these gameplay tweaks. Aside from being responsible, I guess it’s good news for those who are too lazy to get out of bed on weekends. Who, me?