When Pokemon Go released in the summer of 2016, it was both figuratively, and literally, a breath of fresh air. Outside of Hideo Kojima's Boktai, few other games had truly encouraged players to play video games outside. That summer, the outdoors were covered with Pokemon fans trading tips, and doing their all to catch 'em all. Just under four years later, Pokemon fans are now being encouraged to stay indoors, along with everyone else in the country. With the CDC advising against large public gatherings in the wake of Coronavirus, Pokemon Go developer Niantic is implementing changes to the popular mobile game in order to make it more 2020 friendly.
Since much of the game focuses on finding Pokemon, the new changes to Pokemon Go will help make this part of the game a little bit easier. As such, Incense is being discounted by 99%, and now lasts twice as long. Since players won't be traveling as much, Pokemon Eggs will now hatch twice as quickly. PokeStops will also drop presents at an increased rate, so players don't have to visit them as frequently in order to play with friends. In a statement to Polygon, Niantic discussed the changes.
“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 told Polygon.0comments
On one hand, it seems likely that Niantic's changes will be embraced by the Pokemon Go community with open arms. On the other hand, it's a bit sad to see the developer forced to make these changes in order to keep players safe. The communal aspect of Pokemon Go is easily one of its most endearing qualities; there truly is something special about how the game has managed to bring people together, even after the initial craze quieted down, a bit. When the game first came out, players were getting in trouble for trespassing on military bases to play; now, players aren't supposed to go outside to enjoy it. The changes will be temporary, as will the restriction on large public gatherings. But it's still sad to see, nonetheless.
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