Play outside bonuses

Soon, Pokémon GO players will be able to benefit from new exploration bonuses, but some of the previously announced play-at-home bonuses are not staying. Niantic has shared three strategies to address how the current and new bonuses will be handled in the upcoming summer months.

Before we dive into the changes, be aware that all of these changes will be introduced in a staggered manner, when it makes sense for each place in the world, to help people play safely. Without further ado, let’s dive into what’s changing.


Bonus changes summary

📅 When and where:

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  • All changes are region / country based and start in the U.S. and New Zealand at the end of July
  • None of the changes will be applied until GO Fest 2021 wraps up in July

🌟 New Exploration Bonuses:

  • Receive up to two free Raid Passes per day from spinning Gym Photo Discs.
  • Benefit from increased Incense effectiveness while moving.
  • Be guaranteed gifts when spinning PokéStops so long as they have not reached their maximum gift inventory.
  • Receive 10x bonus XP from spinning a PokéStop for the first time.

☘️ Bonuses that are staying the same:

  • Incense duration will remain at 60 minutes.
  • No walking requirement for GO Battle League.
  • You can challenge any Trainer remotely with a QR Code, and the requirement to battle with friends remotely has been lowered to Good Friends.
  • The maximum number of Gifts you can carry in your Item Bag at a time will remain at 20.
  • Trainers will be able to open up to 30 Gifts per day, up from the previous 20.
  • You will continue to receive three times the Stardust and XP for your first Pokémon catch of the day.

🛑 Bonuses that are getting removed / nerfed:

  • Incense effectiveness will not be increased while stationary
  • The frequency of Buddy Pokémon gifts will be reduced back to normal
  • PokéStop and Gym distance interaction is being reduced back to standard

New exploration bonuses for playing together in the real world

Outside Pokémon GO Walking nature

With parts of the world moving toward COVID recovery, Niantic has announced a number of changes to Pokémon GO’s in-game bonuses, aimed at promoting playing outside and reconnecting with Trainers in person.

Starting at the end of July, the following exploration bonuses will roll out to Trainers for testing first in the U.S. and New Zealand. Trainers will:

  • Receive up to two free Raid Passes per day from spinning Gym Photo Discs.
  • Benefit from increased Incense effectiveness while moving.
  • Be guaranteed gifts when spinning PokéStops so long as they have not reached their maximum gift inventory.
  • Receive 10x bonus XP from spinning a PokéStop for the first time.

These bonuses will end when the Season of Discovery wraps up September 1, 2021. Some of these bonuses may stay rolling into the following season, and new bonuses will become available as well.

These bonuses will available in other countries and regions as it’s safe to do so. Niantic has assured the press they plan to activate appropriate bonuses when and where available, as soon as possible.

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Because of this, Trainers may experience different bonuses at different times. To see which exploration bonuses are available to you, check out your Today View.


Stay-at-home bonuses that will be removed or changed

All of these changes will not be made until after Pokémon GO Fest in July, and Niantic has pledged to remove them first as a test in the U.S. and New Zealand starting at the end of July:

We will remove or change them on a rolling basis in other countries and regions over time, and at the same time introduce new exploration bonuses.

Incense nerf

Over the past year, Incense effectiveness was increased to attract Pokémon to you more frequently, even if you weren’t able to leave home. After the change, this effectiveness will be set at the standard level when you’re stationary and increased effectiveness will kick in when you are moving.

Buddy gifts nerf

Previously, your Buddy Pokémon brought you more Gifts each day, up to five gifts at once and up to three times a day. This was because we knew Trainers were running low on supplies like Poké Balls and berries to help them catch Pokémon.

As we move to encouraging Trainers to play outside more, they can continue to receive supplies from spinning PokéStops. After the change, the frequency of these gifts from Buddy Pokémon will be reduced.

PokéStop distance nerf

Previously, PokéStop and Gym interaction distances were increased, to enable people to engage from further away. After this change the distance will revert back to the standard distance, when it makes sense in different places, though may be increased during future events and as part of certain features.

Remote raids

Curiously, Remote Raids changes haven’t been detailed in this announcement:

Remote Raids have become an important part of the game this past year and we’re going to continue evolving them. Our intention is to find the right balance between remote play and in-person play, so stay tuned for more details in the coming months. Many of these in-person raid changes will be to prepare for the eventual return of EX Raids


Stay-at-home bonuses that are staying

These changes will remain as standard parts of the game for the foreseeable future, some of which were previously announced:

  • Incense duration will remain at 60 minutes.
  • No walking requirement for GO Battle League.
  • You can challenge any Trainer remotely with a QR Code, and the requirement to battle with friends remotely has been lowered to Good Friends.
  • The maximum number of Gifts you can carry in your Item Bag at a time will remain at 20.
  • Trainers will be able to open up to 30 Gifts per day, up from the previous 20.
  • You will continue to receive three times the Stardust and XP for your first Pokémon catch of the day.

Pokémon GO Live events that are coming or in planning

Pokémon GO Live Events

Niantic recently shared a tentative list of upcoming Pokémon GO live events that will be taking place this summer. The list is nothing to scoff at, especially in post-COVID days.

Community Days

Featured Pokémon continue this summer with all-new Community Days, including:

Pokémon GO Fest

The Pokémon GO Fest takes place on July 17 and 18 and will once again be a global event. To celebrate Pokémon GO’s fifth anniversary this year, ticket prices are reduced from USD $14.99 to $5.00.

Meloetta has been announced as GO Fest 2021 featured Mythical and there’s a metric ton of bonuses coming to players world wide.

Safari Zone

Niantic has shared that planning is underway to reschedule the Pokémon GO Safari Zones that were postponed last year. More details on these events will be shared as plans are confirmed, but here are the 3 cities you can anticipate seeing the Safari Zones return:

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