Earlier this month, Niantic reverted the changes it made to Pokemon GO at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included bringing the PokeStop and Pokemon Gym interaction distances back to their normal ranges, decreasing the number of gifts Buddy Pokemon grant, and reducing the effectiveness of incense when players are standing still. Niantic received a lot of pushback from the Pokemon GO community for this decision, primarily because of the changes to Gym and PokeStop interaction ranges.
Now Niantic has responded to those upset players, but unfortunately, it looks like the company isn’t interested in budging on this matter – at least not for now. Niantic’s statement gets into the nitty-gritty after explaining that it has heard the feedback and giving us background on the changes and their reversions in the US and New Zealand.
“We have heard your feedback about one change in particular – that of the PokéStop and Gym interaction distance,” Niantic’s statement reads. “We reverted the interaction distance from 80 meters back to the original 40 meters starting in the U.S. and New Zealand because we want people to connect to real places in the real world, and to visit places that are worth exploring.”
“However, we have heard your input loud and clear and so to address the concerns you have raised, we are taking the following actions: We are assembling an internal cross-functional team to develop proposals designed to preserve our mission of inspiring people to explore the world together, while also addressing specific concerns that have been raised regarding interaction distance,” the company continued. “We will share the findings of this task force by the next in game season change (September 1). As part of this process, we will also be reaching out to community leaders in the coming days to join us in this dialogue.”
So, for now, at least, the PokeStop and Pokemon Gym interaction ranges are going back to their original distances of 40 meters in the United States and New Zealand, and it looks like that will be the case for at least the next month. Of course, it’s impossible to know what this so-called task force will decide, but nothing is changing for now, and that’s probably not going to sit well with Pokemon GO players who wanted to see these interaction range increases stick around.
Of course, Niantic always intended these changes to be temporary, so we knew a day would come when they would be reverted. However, in the time that they were live, it seems many players ended up preferring the changes. The Pokemon GO community made some compelling arguments for keeping the distance changes yesterday, but it’s clear with Niantic’s statement that the message the community sent did not have the effect players were hoping for. We’ll let you know when Niantic shares more about this matter, so stay tuned.