A person holding a Pokéball

There have been several issues lately that have led to the Pokémon GO Community being very vocal in our concerns to Niantic, the most recent, and biggest, being the decision to roll back the ‘Covid Bonuses‘. Most specifically, the decision to decrease the Pokéstop distance back to their pre-pandemic distance, starting in New Zealand and the USA.

As content creators, influencers, YouTubers and more voice their concerns via articles and videos, the community have also been very vocal in their opinions too. With no communication at all from Niantic, to anyone in the community, it is time for us to raise our voices in other ways.

Post on Social Media

Posting on social media, and tagging in the NianticLabs, NianticHelp, and PokemonGOApp accounts, with constructive criticism and feedback, is a valid way of sharing your feelings on these issues.

Advertisement

Don’t send messages to individual staff members on their private accounts, instead make sure you use official social media accounts for Niantic and Pokémon GO.

Offer up your reasoning, and why this particular issue is important to you, and the more different people who contact them, the less we can be ignored.

Twitter has always been a vocal place for the Pokémon Go Community, so sharing your thoughts on other social media platforms will also help spread awareness, as many players are not on Twitter, so may not be aware of the movement.

Share articles and videos that articulate how you feel, talk to your fellow players, and keep this discussion alive!

Sign the Petition

Sign the change.org petition to keep the increased distance here. So far over 130,000 players have signed this, and the more signatures the better. It is a tremendous amount of people who have shown that they disagree with this choice by Niantic, and as more people sign it, we get harder to ignore. A petition is a great and easy way to show that a large amount of people care about this, so sign it and share if you agree.

Go F2P

The absolute biggest way to impact Niantic is to talk with our wallets. Consider going F2P (free to play) and don’t put anymore money into the game until Niantic communicate with us on this decision, and hopefully reverse it.

This is a popular technique many of the popular Pokémon GO Youtubers are aiming to use, including the likes of solo Raid Queen KaitoNolan, and Serebii Webmaster Joe Merrick.

Advertisement

A drastic drop in in game spending will show Niantic how seriously the community are taking this. As many already F2P players can attest to, there are plenty of ways to play Pokémon GO without spending a penny, whilst still thoroughly enjoying the game.

I personally will be doing this to show my disagreement with the distance decrease, and will only use coins I earn from gym defending, rather than putting any real world money into the game.

Boycott

The most extreme way you can share your feelings on this is the boycott the game in some way. Billy from thetrainerclub YouTube channel is encouraging people to only do the bare minimum in game to keep their daily streaks, and absolutely nothing else. No raids, no additional catching, just one catch, and one spin.

Other ways to boycott will be to refuse to interact with any sponsored PokéStops or Gyms, which many players suspect is the reason Niantic are decreasing the distance, as sponsors wish to encourage people to enter their stores/locations, rather than interact from a larger distance. This can actually be turned off in your settings if you are in a region that gets sponsored balloons.

The most dramatic way to boycott, that many people on Twitter say they are partaking in, is to completely uninstall the app. By removing the app from their phones they are making the boldest statement, that this isn’t acceptable, and therefore they will no longer be playing.

Popular Dutch YouTuber Reversal has stated that he will be quitting Pokémon GO at the end of August if the situation is not resolved by the end of the month.

Conclusion

We know that a large majority of the Community disagree with this change, and we encourage you to share your opinions and stories about why this impacts upon you with the official social media channels for Niantic, in a constructive and polite way.

This decision affects player safety because the pandemic is still incredibly concerning in the US, despite the decision to reverse there. Players no longer had to congregate in small areas that inconvenienced other members of the public or businesses because they had to be so close to the gym to raid. No more crossing busy or dangerous roads to spin or raid.

The game became more accessible for disabled players. Have you ever paid attention to how many drop kerbs there are when walking? They can be few and far between, and no drop kerbs, means no wheelchair accessibility.

So much of our society isn’t accessible, and this small change in Pokémon GO opened up the world to disabled trainers so much more effectively than it ever had before.

Many players also struggle to accept that the distances for spinning PokéStops were ever genuinely 80m for the bonus, or 40m before. ZoëTwoDots discusses this in her recent video regarding her feelings on the changes.

For example, my local park has 2 PokéStops and a gym in it. The park as a whole is just less than 80m in length, and just over 40m in width. During the bonus I have been able to spin the stops from a greater distance, but using Google to work out the distance, this is roughly 40m.

I was unable to spin this before the pandemic, and can only just spin it now. Since distance was reverted in the USA, many players are reporting distances of 10m or less being needed, and practically needing to be right on top of the stop before they can spin in.

A lot of border towns in Canada have also reported issues, with their spin distance reverted, despite not being in a region that should have currently been affected by the rollback.

Advertisement

It has long been discussed on Reddit that PokéStop spin distance has been affected by how close you are to the Equator. The closer to the Equator, the smaller your spin radius becomes, and the further away, the larger it becomes.

People who live close to the Equator have expressed shock at how much further away they could be to spin a stop when they have travelled abroad to countries much further away. There is already an imbalance in the game in regards to the distance, and the increased distance would have aided those close to the Equator in their play a lot.

Many believe that this is a visual bug, but players who have travelled have confirmed the differences in distance.

Another issue is that initially Niantic shared that this distance would be a permanent change to the game, what an awesome Quality of Life update! When players noticed this had been amended in their original blog post, they then said that this had been a ‘mistake’ and that is why it had been updated.

Again, bad communication, and stating that it would be permanent, and then revoking this, is really unacceptable.

This isn’t about wanting to play from home permanently. This is about a genuinely great Quality of Life update that was taken away from us, that doesn’t make sense.

This doesn’t impact player spending, in any major way, and if anything, it encouraged us to go out and explore more safely, which should be a key aim of Pokémon GO.

We want communication, and transparency, and for this change to be reconsidered in a fair way.

Advertisement