Pokemon GO coronavirus update makes it easy to play indoors (for now)

With all hands on deck in regards to slowing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, that puts inherently social games like Pokemon GO in a weird spot. Health organizations like the WHO and the CDC are recommending that people practice social distancing and self-isolation in communities where coronavirus is spreading, which doesn't really mesh with the Pokemon GO's goal of getting people to go out and explore the world.

Thankfully, Niantic has announced some temporary changes to the game that will make it easier to play without having to venture out. First off, the company announced today that the planned Abra Community Event has been postponed, with no new date for when it might take place.

Beyond pushing back the Abra event, Niantic also announced that it will offer a one-time discount on a 30-pack of incense, dropping its price down to a single PokeCoin. Incense will be particularly useful for playing the game indoors, as it attracts Pokemon to the player's position when used. On top of that, Niantic is also increasing the time incense lasts to one hour.

The hatch distance of eggs placed in an incubator has also been halved, so while you'll still need to get some steps in for your eggs, it should be easier to hatch them when you're spending an extended amount of time indoors. In addition, Niantic says that PokeStops will drop gifts more frequently, so when you do venture out you'll be able to take full advantage of any PokeStops you encounter. Finally, Pokemon habitats have been increased, which means you should encounter more Pokemon in the wild.

Niantic doesn't say when these temporary measures will end, likely because it plans to keep them in place until the coronavirus outbreak is under control. We'll let you know when Niantic shares more, but for now, enjoy some solitary hunting in Pokemon GO.