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Niantic Forms 'Interaction Distance Task Force' in Response to Pokémon GO Boycott in U.S., New Zealand

posted on by Adriana Hazra
Company stated it will share findings of task force by September 1

Niantic announced on Thursday that it has formed an "Interaction Distance Task Force" in response to the player community's boycott of its Pokémon GO smartphone game. The game's player community complained in response to Niantic's decision to restore the game's original 40 meters interaction distance for PokéStops and Gyms in the United States and New Zealand.

Niantic had earlier increased the interaction distance to 80 meters as a safety precaution for the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The company has stated it will share the findings of the task force by the next in-game season change on September 1. In the meantime, the distance will remain at 40 meters.

In an attempt to "restore some of the foundational elements players enjoyed prior to 2020," the company has also added Exploration Bonus rewards to the game. Niantic stated that the changes are only being implemented in "select geographies where it is deemed safe to be outdoors."

Aside from working off the findings of the internal cross-functional task force, Niantic has also stated it will be "reaching out to community leaders in the coming days to join us in this dialogue."

Sensor Tower reported in July that the smartphone game has surpassed US$5 billion in lifetime revenue. The game has achieved approximately 632 million downloads since its launch in July 2016.

Other updates Niantic had made last year to Pokémon GO in response to the spread of COVID-19 include removing walking requirements for GO Battle League, offering discounted Incense and Poké Balls, increasing Gift storage, increasing spawns, reducing Egg hatch distance requirements, increasing Stardust and XP catch bonuses, and extending or canceling current in-game Raid events.

Source: Niantic's blog via Siliconera

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