Pokemon GO distance changes: What's changed, is this forever?

Niantic is facing a bit of backlash from Pokemon GO gamers who are not pleased to find changes in the game this week. Per Niantic, they intended to "remove or change some of the bonuses introduced last year," and would not be starting this rolling set of changes until the end of July 2021. Niantic began changing these bonuses "first as a test" in two key regions: New Zealand and the USA.

Niantic said they would "remove or change [the bonuses] on a rolling basis in other countries and regions over time." The announcement of this roll-back was made back on June 21, 2021. A bit has changed since then, like the whole COVID-19 Delta variant spread and vaccination stall situation.

Niantic maintains that they appreciate players as they "continue to navigate through this together." Niantic also suggested that their change process will be done "in a staggered way, when it makes sense for each place in the world, to help people play safely."

Some changes made in 2020 will remain in-effect. Bonuses introduced in Pokemon GO in 2020 that will not be going away (at least "for the foreseeable future") include:

• 30 Gifts can be opened per day (up from 20 before 2020)

• Max Gifts carried remain at 20

• 3x Stardust and XP for first Pokemon catch of the day

• Remote Trainer battle challenge remains

• Requirements for friend challenge lowered to Good Friends

• Go Battle League walking requirement remains removed

• Insence stays at 60 minutes duration

Changes made with this most recent update to Pokemon GO in August of 2021 include:

• Interaction distances revert to standard for PokeStop and Pokemon Gym locations

• Buddy Pokemon gifts reduced (no longer up to 5 gifts, up to 3 times a day)

• Incense remains at 60 minutes, but effectiveness is reduced back to "normal" if you're standing still – effectiveness rises "when you are moving"

It's entirely possible that the changes made at the start of this month will be rebooted if and when Niantic's sense of urgency with the COVID-19 pandemic returns. It's also possible that Niantic only changed these bonuses so that they might introduce new, different sorts of means for at-home players to continue to play the game safely.