Pokémon Go fans, rejoyce. The development team behind the mobile game, Niantic, has heard the fan outcry at its announcement to retract the previous COVID-19 features of increasing the interaction radius for PokéStops and Gym and has decided to keep the feature permanently. As a result, all PokéStops and Gyms will have an interaction radius of 80 meters, rather than the original standard of the game, which was significantly smaller.
Niantic announced that they would be keeping their COVID-19 choices on August 25 and that a task force will be sharing more details on additional changes coming to the mobile game on September 1.
When the COVID-19 Pandemic struck the world, Niantic quickly adapted to the situation and modified several features in Pokémon Go to make it more at-home friendly because most of the world had been following lockdown requirements by most governments. It was a way to ensure Pokémon Go players could still play most of the game without stepping outside. These changes included increased Pokémon spawns, daily missions not from Pokéstops, no walking requirements for the game’s PvP mode, and increased PokéStop and Gym radius.
As the pandemic appeared to be winding down in the summer of 2021, the team announced they were returning many of these features back to normal, and the fans wanted none of it.
Many of the fans saw the COVID-19 features as improvements to Pokémon Go. It made it more approachable for players who couldn’t find time to walk the massive distance requirements several of Niantic’s mechanics required or were starving for items because they couldn’t reach certain PokéStops or Gyms close to their work or house. Now that the changes will be permanent, fans can only hope more positive changes are on the way for the massively popular mobile game.
Pokémon Go fans have scored a major victory with the Niantic team, considering how the fans play the game and accommodating their larger player base. We can only hope for more positive changes coming on the next announcement on September 1.