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Niantic Reverts the Pokéstop and Gym Range in Pokémon Go Back to 80m After Fan Outcry

80m will be the base radius from now on

Image to promote Pokémon GO’s research feature (Credit: Niantic Labs)

Back in June, Niantic announced that they would roll back one of the changes that had been made to Pokémon Go. The change in question had doubled the distance for players to interact with gyms and Pokéstops (from 40m to 80m) because, well, pandemic. While Pokémon Go has always been about going outside, exploring, and playing with the community, COVID does what COVID does, so Niantic made some welcome adjustments.

I know a lot of companies are attempting to continue on as if we aren’t in the middle of multiple unwanted COVID DLC variants, but I’m not quite sure why Niantic decided to try and go back to 40m when it was such a well-received solution. Not only did it make the game safer to play during a rather challenging time period, but it made it more accessible. As Kotaku’s Mike Fahey wrote back in August (when the rollback was implemented):

Many also see the rollback as a major blow to Pokémon Go’s accessibility. Disabled players, like Redditor Shadowbox22, were pleased when the distance changes were initially implemented, as they were suddenly able to access stops that were otherwise out of their range of movement. Now those stops are out of range once more, severely affecting their ability to enjoy the game.

I’m in the same boat. When last year’s changes were implemented I could suddenly access the gym and Pokéstop across the street from my apartment complex. I spend most of my time in a hospital bed in my home, and suddenly being able to farm items from the stop across the street meant I could catch Pokémon without having to spend real money on Pokéballs and other supplies. Since the change went live, the gym and stop are now out of reach. I can’t continue playing at this point.

The 80m change just felt like a win/win to me. Players could continue to play safely, and the game being more accessible meant more could take part in it. I know some people look at fan concerns as being a whole lot of noise, but this really did feel like an unnecessary move on Niantic’s part.

Fortunately, Niantic is listening to the fans on this one. Just weeks after the rollback the company has announced that they’re setting it back to 80m.

The task force referred to in the tweet was implemented days after the rollback in response to heavy criticism from fans, who’d felt like the company hadn’t listened to the concerns that had been raised throughout the month leading to the 40m change.

We have heard your feedback about one change in particular – that of the PokéStop and Gym interaction distance. We reverted the interaction distance from 80 meters back to the original 40 meters starting in the U.S. and New Zealand because we want people to connect to real places in the real world, and to visit places that are worth exploring.

However, we have heard your input loud and clear and so to address the concerns you have raised, we are taking the following actions: We are assembling an internal cross-functional team to develop proposals designed to preserve our mission of inspiring people to explore the world together, while also addressing specific concerns that have been raised regarding interaction distance. We will share the findings of this task force by the next in game season change (September 1). As part of this process, we will also be reaching out to community leaders in the coming days to join us in this dialogue.

Our goal is to build fun and engaging experiences that remain true to our mission, and we thank you for challenging us with thoughtful and constructive feedback.

While there will be an announcement on Niantic’s findings on September 1st, the company has decided to revert back to 80m.

Honestly? I hope it stays that way.

(Image: Niantic/Pokémon)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)