Prominent Pokemon GO Players Call On Niantic to Bring Back Pandemic Changes

| Aug 5, 2021
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As reported by Eurogamer, some of Pokémon GO’s most prominent players have started calling on developer Niantic to bring back the pandemic changes it introduced last year, and recently pulled from the game.

Early in 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Niantic introduced a host of changes that made the game easier to play. The biggest change was a significantly increased interaction range, allowing people to play Pokémon GO while social distancing, or even from their own houses in some cases.

A group of influencers and YouTubers including Pokeminers, Trainers Tips, and more have made an open letter on Reddit, laying out points for why the increased interaction radius should stay in Pokémon GO. The letter comes after players, at large, have asked Niantic to bring the features back, with a petition on Change.org currently over 160,000 signatures. Other players have pledged to stop spending money in Pokémon GO until Niantic acknowledges the wishes of fans, and the #BoycottNiantic has started gaining serious traction on Twitter.

You can see the full letter on Reddit, but the group laid out the following points as to why the change needs to happen:

Safety

  • Not needing to cross dangerous roads to reach or interact with a point of interest.
  • Not ‘needing’ to trespass on private property to reach or interact with a point of interest.
  • Provided the ability to play and interact from a sheltered shared location e.g. under trees, awnings or shelters to avoid hazardous weather conditions.
  • Playing from safe locations and not entering areas that would be detrimental to personal safety. This includes preventing a risk to safety via interpersonal crimes, theft, environmental hazards, dangerous locations etc.
  • General personal safety for social distancing during the ongoing global pandemic.

Accessibility

  • Many disabled Trainers could now interact with locations that previously excluded them from the Pokémon GO community. This includes interacting with Gyms and Pokéstops that would otherwise be inaccessible due to stairs, steep inclines or other physical barriers. All while being very generously within visual range of the point of interest.
  • Trainers with autism and sensory conditions could engage with the community from a more accommodating distance. Allowing them to play with the community but not be overwhelmed by large crowds or triggering locations.
  • Trainers with young children or in a position of care could more safely interact with points of interest while maintaining a safe environment for those in their care.

Respect

  • Greater courtesy and respect to non-Trainers in the community by way of not crowding or blocking entry to businesses, private property, playgrounds, emergency services, places of worship or memorials.”

Niantic has said it wants Pokémon GO to return to a state where it encourages exploration and small in-person gatherings, and in June the developer laid out a roadmap for ending the pandemic bonuses. With the new Delta variant of COVID-19 on the rise in the US and elsewhere, however, fans are understandably worried about the safety of playing Pokemon GO.

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