While the more advisable thing during a global pandemic would probably be to just not play a game that actively requires to leave your home and be around people, Pokemon Go is at least getting some temporary changes that will make it easier to minimize your time outside and practice some of that good ol’ social distancing.
In a post on the game’s official website, developer Niantic said that it will be making changes to several of Pokemon Go’s systems, specifically ones that require you to go to new areas to capture new Pokemon and get new perks.
Incense, which causes Pokemon to spawn more frequently, will be heavily discounted and PokeStops, which are areas you can walk to to reap in-game rewards, will be dropping items more often.
Here’s the full list of updated features.
- 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
Along with these changes to the way the game fundamentally works, Pokemon Go’s “Abra Community Day” has been postponed until some public health officials give everyone the okay.
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These changes will remain in the game “until further notice,” as games, businesses, movies, and basically the rest of the world as we know it adapts to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. This week alone several industry events have been postponed or cancelled, including E3, which is no longer taking place this year for the first time since it began back in 1995.
Even when events aren’t being cancelled, several companies are opting to pull out from them altogether, like Sony did a couple weeks ago by removing its showfloor presence at PAX East in Boston. But even in just a few short weeks more event organizers are electing to just cancel or postpone things rather than risk the help of the general public. The Game Developers Conference was postponed at the end of February, and earlier today EGX Rezzed was pushed into the summer two weeks before it was meant to take place in London.
Along with the games industry, movies are being affected as well. A Quiet Place: Part II and Disney’s live-action Mulan remake are also being delayed out of their originally planned March theatrical release dates in response to the coronavirus, and they don’t have a new release date as of this writing.
Whatever anyone can do to keep people in their houses and not contracting or helping to spread the illness is alright by me. It would be probably better for everyone involved in Pokemon Go could outright halt its services for the time being, but capitalism waits for no one, not even an pandemic.