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Niantic Update Pokémon GO Exploration Bonuses To Return to In-Person Play

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Pokémon GO, the AR game based around catching Pokémon, bases its gameplay on walking around, finding Pokémon, and locating gyms. However, due to the pandemic, the game made changes to critical gameplay elements to accommodate the stay-at-home reality. Now, it appears that some Pokémon GO’s pandemic-specific updates may be coming to an end.

In an update on Pokémon Go’s website, game developers Niantic gave an overview of the approach the company is taking with its game with regards to the current state of the pandemic.

For starters, there will new exploration bonuses incentivizing outdoor play. Players will received “up to two free Raid Passes per day from spinning Gym Photo Discs,” have incenses be more effective while moving, get gifts when spinning PokéStops (as long as the gift inventory isn’t full), and receive 10x bonus XP on the first PokéStop spin.

Conversely, several bonuses implemented with the pandemic of mind will be disappearing. These include returning incense effectiveness to normal levels when stationary, reducing the amount of gifts Buddy Pokémon offer, and scaling back PokéStop and Gym interaction distances. These reductions are all implemented with getting players outdoors and moving in mind.

Some of the bonuses, however, will still be enabled. These include 60 minute incense duration, no walking requirement for GO Battle League, remote battling with QR codes, increased maximum number of Gifts that can be carried, how many gifts per day can be opened, and Stardust and XP bonus on the first catch of the day.

While Niantic is trying to assure players it still is conscientious of the pandemic – “We understand that every place is different. Rest assured, we will be monitoring the situation and activating appropriate bonuses when and where available” – Kotaku reports that users have been unhappy with the changes. Some have mentioned the importance of keeping up with social distancing practices, even in relatively well vaccinated places, while others have mentioned how the changes made Pokémon GO more accessible or even outright better. Other have decried the fact that Niantic previously claimed that they would keep these changes.

It is unclear how the company will take the feedback. For now, theses bonuses will go into effect at the end of July in the U.S. and New Zealand first, and go until September 1st, 2021.

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Niantic Update Pokémon GO Exploration Bonuses To Return to In-Person Play
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