When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit last year, Pokémon Go — a game built entirely around the idea of moving freely around outside — had to undergo some changes as people around the world faced lockdowns and movement restrictions.
As some parts of the world start to see light at the tunnel, though, developers Niantic are going to start testing revisions to the game that will roll back Covid-related tweaks to Pokémon Go’s gameplay, keep changes that have proved successful and just generally start getting the game ready for a time when more and more people can just…go outside and do normal stuff again.
Niantic announced the updates on the game’s website, and they’ll take the form of:
As we said last month, how we all play changed a lot in the past 15 months. With the onset of the global pandemic, we realised that we had to change the model for all of our games. We could no longer take going outside and meeting people for granted.
We learned a lot. Thank you for coming along with us as we continue to navigate through this together.
Today, as some parts of the world are moving toward recovery, we’re announcing:
– New exploration bonuses that make it more rewarding to play outside are coming over the next several months, including bonuses for spinning stops, playing at in-person raids, and getting in those steps.
– Bonuses introduced last year that we plan to remove or change, tested first in the U.S. and New Zealand, followed by other countries and regions based on local conditions.
– Bonuses introduced last year that we are planning on keeping, including first catch of the day bonuses, GO Battle League and Trainer Battle requirements, and more.
As you can see in that second listing, the game’s updates and revisions won’t be rolled out globally all at once, given the fact Covid restrictions and lockdowns vary so greatly between cities and countries. So Niantic will be testing them in two places people are allowed to head outside now: the US (owing to its high vaccination rate + number of people who simply do not care) and New Zealand (which has barely had a case after closing its borders).
For everyone else, Niantic say:
We’ll make these bonuses available in other countries and regions as it’s safe to do so. We understand that every place is different. Rest assured, we will be monitoring the situation and activating appropriate bonuses when and where available. Because of this, Trainers may experience different bonuses at different times.