If you haven’t checked in on Pokémon GO in a while, you might be surprised to find that the game is still alive and kicking. Now, it may not have the same absolutely insane numbers that it managed to claim upon its initial release, but the people who play it regularly would surely love to tell you all the ways that the game has improved since then and why you should give it another go. Here’s where we get to the bad part though; Pokémon GO, like everything else in our world, is taking a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this case, it seems more like a proactive measure than outright cancellation. While it is unfortunate to think about the cause behind it, it is nice to know that developers will do what they can for gamers and that we can all continue to try and struggle along together.
Basically, Niantic is adding changes to Pokémon GO to allow players to continue to participate in the game without taking the potential risk of exposing themselves to infection while being outdoors. Up until now, most of these changes have simply been rumored, random things observed by the fan base that seemed to make sense in consideration of current events. But now, thanks to Polygon, we have official confirmation.
Niantic is increasing habitats, discounting incense packs (which will now last 1 hour) by 99 percent, incubators hatch eggs twice as fast, and the drop rate for gifts has been increased. Additionally, Niantic has postponed it’s previously announced community event, Abra Day, as well as doing the same to some other real-world events.
Pokémon GO is getting to keep the things which don’t require groups, it seems. The Special Research Adventure that is the debut of Genesect is still on, as is the first season of Battle League, as it allows players to compete against one another from a respectful, safe distance.
Niantic put it better than I could:
“While we’ve made these updates based on the current global health situation, 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.”
Stay safe out there, everybody. Wash your hands, don’t hoard supplies, and make sure to get checked if you have reason to think you might have been exposed or are starting to feel ill.