Let’s preface this article with some context for those who haven’t been keeping up with the latest Pokemon GO news. Earlier this month, Niantic announced that Pokemon GO’s Poke Stop and Gym interaction distance would return to normal in New Zealand and the United States. In addition, the number of gifts Buddy Pokemon bestowed and the effectiveness of incense when players were stationary were reduced.
That’s why the Pokemon GO community has backed down against Niantic’s decision. The reason is: the current emergence of COVID-19 variants such as Delta. The community’s main concern was that players had clustered around companies to use Poke Stops and Gyms.
Well, it seems Niantic doesn’t view these issues as too much of a problem. The company recently dismissed the claims, stating that the company’s goal is: “Encourage people to explore, exercise and play together safely.”
Furthermore, Niantic explained their reasoning behind rolling back the interaction distance from 80 meters to the original 40 meters:
We’ve moved the interaction distance from 80 meters back to the original 40 meters, starting in the US and New Zealand, because we want people to connect with real places in the real world and visit places worth exploring.
To address the new health concerns, Niantic will assemble an internal multi-functional team to look at both the company’s “mission” and players’ “specific concerns”. As the company states:
We are assembling an in-house multi-functional team to develop proposals designed to maintain our mission to inspire people to explore the world together, while also addressing specific concerns raised regarding interaction distance. We will share the findings of this task force by the next season change (September 1). As part of this process, we will also be reaching out to community leaders in the coming days to join this dialogue.
So that’s bad news for current Pokemon GO players. The interaction distance has been reduced for the time being to at least September 1. Given that the backlash started due to social distancing concerns, it is highly likely that the community will not take this announcement well.
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