Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, has announced that it will reinstate the wider access distance for players interacting with Pokéstops and Gyms. In a tweet, the company said that the radius would return to 80 meters from “now on,” after saying that the distance would be reduced back to its pre-pandemic size.
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. (1/2)
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) August 25, 2021
Go is, after all, a game designed to get folks out and about, which isn’t a great idea when there’s a global respiratory pandemic knocking around. That’s why, as COVID-19 began to bite, Niantic made interaction distances much longer, to discourage groups from crowding in public areas.
In addition, the company also made Remote Raid battles, and Adventure Sync work much more effectively from home, given the number of people who had to isolate. The normal calendar of real-world events were moved online, too, and many of the store deals were slashed in cost.
As Polygon reports, Niantic’s flip-flop here was prompted by social media protests after some of these changes were reversed. The company engaged in dialog with players, with a change in policy planned for September 1st, with players asking for better regard for safety and accessibility.