For the last year and some change, Niantic made a lot of decisions to improve the quality of play during the pandemic that made it easier for players to still enjoy Pokemon GO despite lockdowns, quarantines, and trying to stay safe from the deadly virus. One of those quality of life improvements was the radius around the avatar. Initially, the radius was 40 meters, but during the pandemic, it was lengthened to 80 meters. Of all the improvements Niantic made, this one felt the most natural and needed, not just during the pandemic, but for casual gameplay, too.
Unfortunately, after the recent GO Fest, Niantic reverted back to the 40 meter radius, and the outcry from fans was explosive. Protests began, prominent players on Twitch and YouTube threatened to quit playing, and the overall feel of the game got worse as this change back felt like a return to lesser times.
Thankfully, the community fought back hard, and major faces in the Pokemon GO community began speaking up, especially after Niantic lost their community manager after this decision:
Needless to say, the community has not been happy, and although lots has been happening in the Pokemon GO world with Ultra Unlocks thanks to the success of GO Fest 2021, players have been quite vocal and aggressive on social media. Niantic could not ignore this any more, so they reached out to a decent amount of top players and influencers and invited them to have a sit down and discussion.
The results of this discussion and the newly formed “task force” has led to Niantic finally returning the radius to 80 meters and doing so permanently. This is a huge win for fans of Pokemon GO, because after so many years of feeling unheard and uncared for by the Niantic staff, this is a victory that needs to be felt and understood.
Niantic also mentioned in their announcement that more information will be coming on September 1st, 2021, which is right around the corner. Fingers crossed this means more quality of life improvements will be introduced and made permanent.
At the end of the day, Pokemon GO is successful not because of Niantic but because of the players, and Niantic needs to remember that. Too many times in capitalistic culture do the customers get screwed, because the powers-at-be take full advantage of their position and show little-to-no care for the very people that gave them power in the first place. What Niantic did is important because it finally gives a voice to the voiceless.
And contrary to their own beliefs, the radius distance in Pokemon GO never affected their income. Actually, Niantic had their most successful year ever in 2020 in the midst of all of these changes and the pandemic, and if that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what will.
So three cheers for the community doing some serious work here and helping make Pokemon GO more accessible permanently as we move forward. Hip hip HOORAY!
Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link for all of your gaming news and updates! What do you think of Niantic going back on their terrible decision? What do you think of the power of the community’s voice? Are you happy? Let us know in the comments below! Happy gaming, everyone.
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.