Niantic’s Pokémon Go will no longer return to its pre-pandemic distance radius for Pokéstops and gyms, following a backlash from fans.
Pre-pandemic, the interaction range for Pokéstops and gyms was 40m, which was doubled to 80m on the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Niantic had initially planned to roll back these changes, the 80m distance will be treated as the game’s ‘base’ interaction level globally going forward.
The news was announced last night, in the face of fierce pushback against their plans to return to pre-pandemic settings. The Pokémon Go community, including influencers and community leaders, shared an open letter protesting the changes, underlining the benefits of a wider interaction range for players – particularly for disabled players, or those with small children.
Niantic initially seemed resistant to these ideas, acknowledging the community’s concerns in a blog post but otherwise doubled down on the changes, saying:
“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.”
It seems now though that Niantic have U-turned on this decision, announcing that 80 metres will be the base distance globally going forward.
Thank you to everyone who made your voices heard. We’ve heard you and understand that this has been a welcome benefit to many players. We’ll share more next week. (2/2)
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) August 25, 2021
The U-turn is bound to please the game’s millions of players – Pokémon Go has generated $5 billion in lifetime revenue since its launch in 2016, with approximately 632 million downloads to date.