As the Covid-19 virus spreads across the world, businesses and industries are moving to accommodate the “social distancing” advising given. In the case of popular mobile game Pokemon Go, a game that requires players to go outside and congregate around monuments and points of interest, the game is temporarily changing its mechanics to help increase the safety of its players. In a statement to Polygon, a Niantic representative said that the studio is currently “prioritizing updates to Pokémon GO features and experiences that can be enjoyed in individual settings.”
Incense packs, which attract Pokemon to players are having a 99% discount, as well as increasing the incense time from thirty minutes to an hour. A pack of 30 Incense is on sale for a single PokeCoin. Incubators, which ask players to accrue a certain number of steps before hatching eggs containing Pokémon, will now be more effective and require half the usual steps to hatch Eggs. “Trainers can hatch Eggs twice as fast,” Niantic said. Pokemon habitats are also increasing for players to be able to catch Pokemon closer to home, along with having Pokemon appear more in the wild for the same reason.
Pokestops, which call for players to physically go to and interact with on their device, will also start dropping Gifts more frequently. All of these updates are effective immediately and will continue “until further notice”. At the same time, Niantic has already postponed Abra Community Day, along with some of their real-world events. Currently, existing events, such as the Battle League, will also allow players to compete without physically being near each other. The upcoming Special Research adventures that will eventually debut Genesect will require tasks that can be “completed by individuals”.
“While we’ve made these updates based on the current global health situation, we also encourage players to make decisions on where to go and what to do that are in the best interest of their health and the health of their communities,” Niantic said.