Pokémon Go might never reach the insane heights of popularity it enjoyed shortly after release, but a lot of people still go out into the world and play it. That's perhaps a bit of a problem in the era of COVID-19. Niantic has rolled out some unexpected changes to the game, and they're probably aimed at making it more playable for people who want to stay home to avoid coronavirus.

Players will be disappointed to hear Niantic has axed the upcoming Abra community day on March 15th. Technically, it has been been "postponed" to some indeterminate date in the future. Community days encourage players to go out during a specific window of time to catch a particular Pokémon and evolve them to get exclusive moves. You can probably see how that might be irresponsible at this time.

In addition to the community day change, Niantic made the following changes to the gameplay experience, effective immediately.

  • A one-time purchase bundle of 30 Incense for 1 PokéCoin. Incense will also last for one hour.
  • 1/2 Hatch Distance when Eggs are placed into Incubators during this time period
  • PokéStops will now drop Gifts more frequently
  • Pokémon habitats will increase and more Pokémon will be appearing in the wild

Again, these changes seem like a way to adapt Pokémon Go to a world in which we're all staying home more. Incense attracts Pokémon to your location, and almost everyone has a few PokéCoins sitting around. And if you can't go outside, you're going to do less walking. So, the shorter hatch distance helps there. The game will also drop more gifts during those times you do get near a PokéStop. Players should also just find more Pokémon in the wild, allowing them to enjoy the game without walking all over town in search of mons.

Basically, Niantic would really like it if you could please keep playing the game and giving them money as you avoid coronavirus.

Pokémon GO
Pokémon GO
Developer: Niantic, Inc.
Price: Free+