Pokemon Go has announced several changes to both the game and how developers communicate with players after responding to fan outcry over recent changes to some game features. These changes are the result of an "internal task force" set up after Niantic received overwhelmingly negative feedback about reverting several changes made during the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The task force not only determined that Pokemon Go should keep an 80 meter interaction radius for PokeStops and gyms set during the pandemic, it also announced a change to how it handles seasonal bonuses and promised additional communication lines to engage with players. Starting next month, Pokemon Go will publish a developer diary to explain upcoming features, events, and features. These developer diaries will be released every two months. Additionally, Pokemon Go will set up regular conversations with "community leaders" to continue dialogue between developers and players.
These changes are the result of a series of controversies that began when Pokemon Go announced plans to revert several in-game bonuses implemented in early 2020 to encourage social distancing during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, Niantic announced that it would scrap the doubling of the interaction radius for PokeStops and gyms in the United States and New Zealand. Fans pointed out that COVID-19 was still raging across the United States and that the wider radius helped with accessibility, and then threatened to quit or boycott the game when Niantic seemingly ignored the feedback. Last week, Pokemon Go announced that the interaction radius would remain at the pandemic-era distance of 80 meters permanently, and also stated they were scrapping several regional bonuses set to start during the Season of Mischief, which was due to begin today. Instead, all players will receive the same bonuses regardless of where they live.
Obviously, Pokemon Go has a lot to do to rebuild the goodwill it lost over the past few months. However, keeping the expanded interaction radius helps and showing commitment to its promises of better communication would also be a big start. We'll report more on the developer diaries and other increased communications with the community as they are released.