Pokémon Go will no longer restore the game's pre-pandemic radius for interacting with PokéStops and Gyms, developer Niantic has said - marking a significant U-turn on its previous plans.
The game's pandemic era 80m interaction range will now become the game's "base" interaction level globally, the developer said. (Pre-pandemic, it was 40m.)
Niantic announced the news last night to jubilation among fans and numerous high-profile figures in the game's community who had united in an unprecedented call for Niantic to rethink its plans to ditch the doubled distance in certain countries, after changes went live in the US and New Zealand. (The changes were then repealed in New Zealand after a new government-enforced lockdown.)
Pokémon Go players have become accustomed to the game's doubled interaction radius since it was first introduced 18 months ago. Fans said it allowed for safer play in busy areas, and a more accessible game overall for users with mobility issues.
But Niantic - until now - had seemed remarkably firm on its stance that the increased interaction radius had to go - in order to encourage more people back outside and to be active, it said.
Last night's surprise announcement comes several days ahead of a planned statement by Niantic, put together by a task force within the company set up to investigate community concerns over the feature being changed.
That statement will still come, and Niantic suggested last night it still has further plans to discuss in it. Expect to hear more on 1st September, when Pokémon Go's next in-game season begins.
Thank you to everyone who made your voices heard. We?ve heard you and understand that this has been a welcome benefit to many players. We?ll share more next week. (2/2)— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) August 25, 2021
For now, fans are delighted and frankly a little surprised at Niantic's change of heart - even after the universal showing of support among players and high-profile Pokémon Go content creators for the developer to reconsider.
The game's community had called on players to stop playing or spending money in the game in protest, with many of Pokémon Go's most visible YouTubers joining in.
"Trainers - we're looking forward to sharing our plans as a result of the task force on September 1, but one thing does not have to wait! From now on, 80 meters will be the base interaction radius for PokéStops and Gyms globally," Niantic wrote last night. "Thank you to everyone who made your voices heard. We've heard you and understand that this has been a welcome benefit to many players. We'll share more next week."