Concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic have led to many temporary closures, cancellations, and postponement of events, from the likes of Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan to E3 2020. But health is wealth, and social distancing is a necessity, so what do you do when the premise of your game requires players to head out and gather around points of interest?
The answer, in the eyes of Niantic, is to make individual playtime in Pokémon Go more delightful, while increasing player safety at the same time. In an interview with Polygon, the studio shared it’s currently “prioritising updates to Pokémon Go features and experience that can be enjoyed in individual settings.”
“While we’ve made these updates based on the current global health situation, we also encourage players to make decisions on where to go and what to do that are in the best interest of their health and the health of their communities,” Niantic adds.
Of the updates, the most notable one is the increase in habitats, which allows more monsters to appear on the screen nearby when playing at home. Incense packs, meanwhile, now sport an extended use of one hour, and can be bought at a whopping 99% discount.
Hatching eggs will also be an easier affair. With incubators – devices that require players to reach a fixed number before hatching Pokémon-bearing eggs – made more efficient, the process is twice as fast.
Lastly, players are set to come across Gifts more often at the PokéStops. All of these features have already been rolled out, and will continue “until further notice.” Previously-planned events are being adjusted accordingly, too, with the first season of Battle League permitting trainers to battle one another from different real-life places, and the upcoming Special Research adventure boasting individual tasks.
Si Jia is a casual geek at heart – or as casual as someone with Sephiroth’s theme on her Spotify playlist can get. A fan of movies, games, and Japanese culture, Si Jia’s greatest weakness is the Steam Summer Sale. Or any Steam sale, really.