Niantic relents on Pokemon Go social distancing change after backlash

While the pandemic is easing in many parts of the country, it's definitely not over. Pokémon Go developer Niantic recently found itself in hot water when it reduced the social distancing requirements for players in the US and New Zealand. The change meant that groups of players had to gather more closely to play the game, which angered many people.

Niantic has now confirmed via Twitter that it had heard fan feedback, and from now on, the base interaction radius for PokeStops and Gyms globally will be 80 meters. That makes it much easier for players to interact with those features again without congregating so close to other people. While the interaction radius has already increased, additional changes could be coming in the near future.

The developer said following fan comments, it was assembling an internal cross-functional team with the goal of developing proposals designed to support Pokémon Go's mission of inspiring players to explore the world together while addressing concerns in the world as it is now. Niantic has promised to share the task force's findings in time for the game season change happening on September 1.

Community leaders will also be invited to participate in the task force. The change the developers made to the interaction distance for PokeStops and Gyms was reducing it to 40 meters. That has been reverted to 80 meters as it has been since the pandemic began.

The pandemic is still raging in many parts of the world, and many areas are currently under lockdown. As a result, the decision to reduce the interaction distance to 40 meters was met with massive protests from players of the game. The protests even sparked the hashtag calling for people to boycott Niantic.