The engagement radius for spinning a Gym or Pokéstop in Pokémon Go has been increased to 80 metres from 40 metres, as a compromise/concession to users who were upset that gameplay perks implemented during the COVID-19 outbreak last year had been taken back.
On Wednesday afternoon, Niantic confirmed the adjustment in two tweets. Niantic said it will have more to say later regarding the findings of an internal study group it formed in response to player backlash earlier this month.
On August 1, Niantic withdrew its pandemic-related adjustments in the United States; players responded with a strong hashtag and social media campaign the following week.
Niantic set up the task force to reach out to players and make recommendations by a Sept. 1 deadline.
“Thank you to everyone who made your voices heard,” the company said on Pokémon Go’s official Twitter feed. “We’ve heard you and understand that this has been a welcome benefit to many players.”
To accommodate social distancing measures and safety requirements, Niantic upped the Pokéstop interaction distance to 80 metres last year.
Although the longer activation distances made the augmented reality game easier and more convenient to play, players argued that they were also better for the game because they helped include more players who needed accommodations due to mobility or other conditions, and they built goodwill with non-players around the real-world sites where Pokéstops were placed.
Niantic announced the rollback of the Exploration Bonuses at the end of June, stating that 40 metres were acceptable for a game based on exploration and discovery.
“Going outside and spinning PokéStops and Gyms is important to our mission because it encourages exploration of the world,” Niantic said Aug. 1. “These locations are local points of interest in a community and could be historical landmarks, art installations, local businesses, and more.”
The reversal on Wednesday is a capitulation to the most important demand made by players during the #HearUsNiantic campaign. Niantic stated that more information regarding its findings will be available next week.