Title: Niantic Ends the COVID Interaction Distance in Pokémon GO
As announced on July 21st, 2021, Pokémon GO players around the world are now reporting that the PokéStop and Gym interaction distances that were increased for safety reasons have now been reverted to their original distance. The distance is now a radius of 40 meters, which is very unsafe interaction distance for player safety. The distance should actually increase even more from the COVID distance of 80 meters.
At a time when players safety is in jeopardy, Niantic refuses to listen to players feedback and is more concerned about corporate profits for its shareholders. According to a report by SuperData, a Nielsen company, released in its 2020 Year in Review for Digital Games and Interactive Media, Pokémon GO made $1.92 billion in revenue in 2020.
COVID isn't just the only real reason the expanded range is neededIt's a general safety and QoL feature.
- Do you want or want your children to cross the street each time just to reach a PokéStop or Gym? Especially if said street has 4 or even 6 lanes?
- Prevents having to go near folks or buildings you'd prefer to avoid, especially at evening/night.
- Disabled people or those who can't walk around that well anymore, like elderly, got a huge QoL boost. Be it by not having to walk extra or being able to reach a POI from their home.
- Pedestrians are usually super annoyed by PoGo players, especially raid groups since they usually block the whole sidewalk. The extra distance gave people the chance to stand in a spot where it doesn't annoy everyone. Also allows players to keep a farther distance from strangers playing in the raid or interacting with the PokéStops and Gyms.
- Less chance to get intro trouble or annoy others. People usually get suspicious if they see you walk around zigzag like a drunk.
Countries in a State of EmergencyAs of August 2nd, 2021, the following countries have safety issues making it dangerous for players to go outside:
Australia - Countrywide Lockdown for COVID-19
Southeastern Europe - Heatwave with temperatures in the 40C+ range for: Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey
Canada - Dangerous levels of smoke in western Canada due to Forest Fires
United States - Florida sets record with over 10,200 active COVID-19 hospitalizations
Japan - State of emergency in effect for COVID-19 as record numbers of infections occurring with daily tally topping 12,000 cases for the first time.
There are many more issues worldwide in regards to player safety, but this highlights some significant issues happening worldwide. Players should follow guidelines from their local health authorities. The Pokémon Company's response to players safety has been pretty good overall throughout the COVID pandemic but they need to step in at this point to protect their IP from being tarnished by Niantic.
Various Pokémon influencers are voicing their concerns with Niantic changing the Interaction rate.
Serebii - Joe Merrick Aug 1, 2021
PokéJungle Aug 1, 2021
#HearUsNianticStarting on August 5th, 2021, the Pokémon Community and Creators continued the campaign to fight against the unsafe measures that Niantic has imposed in Pokémon GO by posting on social media using the #HearUsNiantic hashtag and tagging @NianticLabs @PokemonGoApp, @johnhanke and @Pokemon.
The following message was attached to many of those social media posts:
In response to the Pokémon GO community's feedback in the mainstream news, on social media and e-mails regarding the interact distance in the game, Niantic has announced that they are assembling an internal cross-functional team to address the interaction distance and will announce the findings by September 1st, 2021.
A Response To Our Pokémon GO CommunityTo 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
Niantic Support - August 17th, 2021 - 8:55pmTrainers, due to New Zealand’s recent move to Alert Level 4, we are rolling back the Explorer Bonuses in New Zealand and reinstating the previous bonuses.
Last edited 17 Aug 2021 09:25 PM by ForumBot