Niantic is assembling a task force to maybe make Pokémon GO safe and fun to play again COVID exploration bonus rollback cancel discussion

Back in June, Niantic announced that it would basically be doing away with the pandemic bonuses and regulations it had established for Pokémon GO in 2020 that allowed players to continue enjoying the game in a socially distanced way. This decision did not go over well. Niantic has now issued a response to the Pokémon GO community about it, thanking everyone for being so passionate and reiterating that the “health and wellbeing of players is our top priority.” Niantic explained that it is now assembling a “task force” to contemplate new Pokémon GO protocols that will let players keep playing the game in a way that both fosters community and safety. Here is a relevant excerpt of the statement:

We have heard your feedback about one change in particular – that of the PokéStop and Gym interaction distance. 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. 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.

I don’t play Pokémon GO, so I don’t really have a horse in this race other than to hope Niantic’s task force can deliver a solution that keeps its player safe. Let us know what you think of Niantic’s response, and also check out the new Pokémon Sword and Shield content coming soon to GO. A Niantic Pikmin mobile game will follow later this year.


John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!

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