Shelter-in-place orders and quarantines have shaken up businesses around the world. That includes not only those that require workers to come into work physically but especially those whose business revolves around people actually going out and walking around. Niantic Labs’ games have been hailed for getting people to be more active, perhaps almost too active, but now the company is scrabbling to ensure players are still able to enjoy this AR experiences even when stuck inside their homes.
Niantic Labs has already been changing some of the rules in Pokemon GO to make it more playable even if you don’t go out of your house. Walking requirements have been lowered or removed entirely to give hardcore players fewer reasons to risk their and others’ lives by going outside. That, however, isn’t going to be enough for a game whose primary mechanic involves walking around and visiting certain spots.
That’s why the former Google subsidiary is shifting things a bit and creating new rules and experiences to take into account the current global situation. For example, Adventure Sync will now also count cleaning the house or using the treadmill to encourage players to take up indoor physical activities. Team activities like Raids can also be taken indoors, no matter where the participants are located. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Ingress are also getting some changes to encourage at-home play and keep players safely tucked inside.
Beyond actual gameplay, however, Niantic is also looking into strategies to extend the experience beyond physical, geographical constraints. Things like virtually visiting places rather than traveling to them or making Live Events more virtual are just some of the things they’re considering during this period.
Of course, the regular rules and mechanics still apply to those that are not required to stay indoors. But since the future months have become less certain these days, Niantic is putting these new indoor gameplay elements into effect for the time being.