Some fans of Niantic’s popular mobile game Pokemon GO are crying foul as the developer announces major changes coming to the game’s Remote Raid functionality next month. The augmented reality game based around the collectible creatures recently launched the Pokemon GO Let’s Go event, which lets gives players the chance to capture some Pokemon that were previously region locked.
First launched in 2016, Pokemon GO lets players use their mobile phones and a GPS signal to capture Pokemon and do battle in the real world. An evolution of some of the gameplay mechanics first introduced in developer Niantic’s cult classic AR game Ingress, Pokemon GO became a hit with players worldwide despite suffering from some technical hiccups at launch. As people began to stay indoors during the height of the global pandemic Niantic responded by making some changes to the typically social location-based game, including the ability for players to take part in raids in Pokemon GO remotely.
While many players had grown to love the ability to take part in Remote Raids in Pokemon GO, developer Niantic is now making changes to the feature in order to encourage players to get back to playing the game outdoors. In an announcement posted to Twitter by the Pokemon GO team, it was revealed that the price of Remote Raid Passes is increasing across the board and players will now be limited to a maximum of five Remote Raids per day. The team is also incentivizing players to take on raids in person by increasing the amount of Candy XL received from the encounter. Combined with leaks indicating new raid battle features coming to Pokemon GO, Niantic clearly wants players to step outdoors with phone in hand once again.
Niantic justified the changes by claiming that the passes had begun to “dominate the experience of playing Pokemon GO in a way we never intended,” and stated that they were “necessary for the long-term health of the game.” Many Pokemon GO players responding to the announcement on Twitter had a drastically different on that last point, voicing their displeasure in the replies. Pointing out how the changes could have unintended consequences for some Pokemon GO fans, several responses noted that limiting Remote Raids would have a disproportionately negative impact on disabled and mobility-challenged players. Another response chided the development team for having a “weird purist philosophy that doesn’t match the real world your game is in.”
With Niantic preparing to launch the Pokemon GO Spring Into Spring event early next month, the developer now must try to build excitement for its seasonal promotion even as it contends with backlash from some long-time players. Niantic has made it clear that it wants players to once again step out into the world to play Pokemon GO, but these controversial changes may have some gamers walking away from the game altogether.
Pokemon GO is available now on Android and iOS.