Niantic to revert changes made to Pokémon GO at the beginning of the pandemic

Pokemon Go Mega Evolution Bracelets
Pokemon Go Mega Evolution Bracelets (Image credit: Niantic)

What you need to know

  • Niantic optimized their mobile game, Pokémon GO, at the beginning of the global pandemic.
  • Some changes made included increasing distances for gym raids, trading, and accessing Pokéstops.
  • Niantic has recently announced that they will be reverting these changes in some regions after July 2021.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Niantic made some changes to Pokémon GO to ensure that players could continue to get their streaks in while quarantining or working from home. These changes included the ability to interact with Pokéstops, gyms, and Pokémon from an increased distance, Buddy Pokémon granting the player more gifts per day, eggs hatching after a shorter distance, and incense being more effective when staying still (such as using one at home).

Niantic has recently announced in a blog post that they will be reverting these changes to a pre-pandemic state in the United States and New Zealand after Pokémon GO Fest 2021. Niantic has assured that they are "committed to doing this in a staggered way, when it makes sense for each place in the world", as more countries have been handling the global pandemic better than they could a year ago. They did not, however, mention whether they planned to re-implement changes should the pandemic begin to worsen again, seeing as the situation has been worsening in some countries.

Some fans have been less than elated about the announced changes, especially since the world is not exactly out of the water yet. However, Niantic has assured that some of the new changes will remain, including:

  • No walking requirement for the GO Battle League
  • Incense pots continuing to last one hour
  • Being able to hold 20 gifts in your item bag
  • Being able to open 30 gifts a day
  • Receiving Stardust and XP bonuses for your first daily catch
  • Being able to remotely challenge trainers
  • Being able to remotely battle friends with Good Friend status or higher

If you could give Niantic one recommendation on how to handle Pokémon GO as the pandemic waxes and wanes around the world, what would it be? Let us know in the comments!

Nadine Dornieden

Nadine is a freelance writer for iMore with a specialty in all things Nintendo, often working on news, guides, reviews, and editorials. She's been a huge Nintendo fan ever since she got to pet her very own Nintendog, and enjoys looking at Nintendo's place in the video game industry. Writing is her passion, but she mostly does it so that she can pay off her ever-growing debt to Tom Nook. Her favorite genres are simulation games, rhythm games, visual novels, and platformers. You can find her at @stopthenadness on Twitter, where she'll more than likely be reposting cute Animal Crossing content.