Pokémon GO ending key stay-at-home benefits despite pandemic

Po Go Logo
Po Go Logo (Image credit: Niantic)

What you need to know

  • Niantic is ending key stay-at-home bonuses in Pokémon GO.
  • It includes Hatch Distance changes, Incense effectiveness, and reduced Gift chances.
  • Despite rising COVID-19 cases, Niantic says people are generally encouraged to spend time outside.

Niantic has made the controversial decision to end several stay-at-home benefits in Pokémon GO, starting from tomorrow.

In an update Niantic stated:

Over the past few months, we've been making temporary changes to Pokémon GO to adapt to the changing global environment. Some of these changes will remain implemented for the foreseeable future, such as the ability to raid remotely, changes to the GO Battle League, and the increased distance at which you can spin Photo Discs at Gyms and PokéStops. We thank you for all your feedback.

Niantic says that several benefits and bonuses will remain in the game to improve the overall experience. They are:

  • The maximum number of Gifts you can carry in your bag remains at 20
  • Stardust and XP will still be boosted for your first catch of the day
  • Incense duration remains at 60 minutes

However, Niantic is bringing an end to several key benefits. They are:

  • Hatch Distance will return to normal for Eggs.
  • The increased effectiveness of Incense will now apply only while walking.
  • Your Buddy Pokémon will now bring you Gifts only when you have nearly run out. This will happen only once per day.
  • You will still have a higher chance of getting a Gift when you spin a PokéStop. However, you won't be guaranteed to get a Gift.

How to play Pokémon Go while Social Distancing

Niantic says Incubators will be included in more boxes in the in-game shop. In defense of these actions, Niantic states:

When possible, people are generally encouraged to spend time outside, go on walks, and exercise for their mental and physical health—all while social distancing and abiding by other health and safety recommendations.

The aforementioned bonus changes will take effect from October 1, 1 pm PT.

Niantic further encourages its players to be aware of their surroundings and to follow guidelines from local health authorities.

Despite Niantic's defense, plenty of users are very upset with the decision. With COVID-19 cases on the rise in many countries, it seems plenty of players are still under lockdown or stay-at-home measures and are very unhappy about the prospect of these benefits ending:

Niantic recently announced that Pokémon GO and Pokémon HOME will be compatible by the end of the year.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9