Pokemon Go Developer Addresses Controversial Remote Raid Changes

On Thursday, Pokemon Go developer Niantic announced major changes to the game's Remote Raids, including both a massive price increase, and a daily limit for players. The change won't take effect until April 6th, but players are understandably frustrated. Speaking to Eurogamer, Pokemon Go VP Ed Wu went into detail about the company's rationale for the changes, likening Remote Raid passes to a "shortcut," stating that they take away the incentive of participating in Raids locally. Wu also went on to state that the change is meant to help the game survive in the long run.

"After thinking very carefully about this, what we're doing is relatively simple. Generally speaking, the goal is to keep Remote Raids as a part of Pokemon Go, but to do so in a sustainable way. The change is necessary for the long term health of the overall game, and our principles of getting folks outside and exploring the world together," Wu told Eurogamer.

Remote Raids were added to the game in 2020 as one of several changes resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. In the years since, Niantic has attempted to roll back most of those changes, as it did in 2021 with changes to PokeStops. Wu makes it clear that this Remote Raid decision is the latest attempt by Niantic to undo those changes.

"The world has largely moved back outdoors and Remote Raid passes have come to dominate the overall experience of playing in a way we never intended. It's become essentially a shortcut to playing the game. We've seen an imbalance because the current price of Remote Raid passes is matched to the Premium Battle Pass which is distorting the game economy, and making the game unsustainable in the long term."

Niantic clearly feels that Pokemon Go works best as a game that's played outdoors with friends. That's the model that made the game an overnight success in the summer of 2016, and the developer clearly wants to replicate that. Unfortunately, that model ignores things like inclement weather, when it's just not safe to play outdoors. There are also players that have made friends around the world to Raid with, but not locally. Niantic has not addressed how those aspects of the game factor into its push to keep Pokemon Go outdoors, but clearly the company has a vision, even if it's not one that the player base agrees with.

How do you feel about these changes to Remote Raids? Are you frustrated by this change? Let us know in the comments or share directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!