Niantic announced their plans to roll back the changes implemented into the Pokemon Go mobile game, which were implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sparking the community’s outrage in response. Apparently, the pandemic-induced changes implemented last year actually made this AR video game not only safer but more accessible to different players.
According to IGN, the Pokemon Go community is currently expressing anger towards the game’s developer, Niantic, in response to the company’s announcement to roll back changes that aided social distancing during the pandemic and made the game more accessible to specific demographics. The announcement came on June 21, stating the roll-back to pre-pandemic settings, which sparked the fandom’s outcry, including several petitions aimed at the game’s developer, demanding the cancelation of the roll-back.
For those unfamiliar with the situation, Niantic adapted the Pokemon Go game to the coronavirus pandemic by increasing the required distance for PokéStop and Gym interaction within the game. Naturally, it shifted the game’s focus from exploration, exercise, and socializing to a much more solitary and sedentary experience. Additionally, as the players couldn’t explore the great outdoors anymore, the development team granted the players more freebies, discouraging them from venturing outside, but keeping them faithful to the game.
In light of the roll-back, Niantic offers several other bonuses, like two free Raid Passes per day, increased Incense effectiveness while moving, guaranteed gifts when spinning PokéStop, and a 10x bonus XP for spinning the PokéStop for the first time.
Regardless of the bonuses lost and bonuses gained, Pokemon Go fans are angry at Niantic for a reason less apparent than increased benefits. The pandemic-issued changes made the game more accessible to people with physical disabilities, who were able to interact with PokéStop and Gyms that they weren’t before and enjoy the full, much-needed benefits of increased Incense effectiveness. Taking that into consideration, Niantic’s plans to revert the game to its pre-pandemic setting can be viewed as a morally wrong decision.
It’s worth noting that Niantic, when they first implemented the pandemic-related changes, stated that the company doesn’t have a defined plan for when the bonuses might be rolled back, but noted that they’d adjust and account for a lot of said changes. With the new coronavirus cases on the decline, it would seem that the time has come for Niantic to issue a roll-back. But this isn’t the only shocking news for the Pokemon franchise; the increased demand for Pokemon cards caused public safety concerns in the U.S.
Despite the outcry and fandom’s dissatisfaction, Pokemon Go remains one of the most popular and downloaded games in the Pokemon franchise, which reportedly has another Pokemon movie in the works, starring Spider-Man Star Tom Holland. Still, it’s pretty clear that the community isn’t happy about the current situation and demands Niantic’s attention – the company hasn’t issued a single comment or statement about the petitions and the fandom’s reaction.