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Pokémon Go restores social distancing benefits to the game

Following their removal in October, Niantic leaves buffs in place at least through June 2021

Niantic has announced that it will restore a number of bonuses to Pokémon Go that had previously been added to the game to facilitate safe play during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The developer first made adjustments to the game back in March, offering mechanical shifts and bonuses to discourage players from gathering in large groups, hanging around public populated spaces, and play the game more effectively while staying at home.

These improvements immediately resulted in Pokémon Go's best week of revenue yet, and were expanded upon later that month.

It also converted Pokémon Go Fest 2020 into a global, digital event, which resulted in $17.5 million in player spending according to Sensor Tower.

Then, in September, Niantic announced it would be making some changes (such as the ability to participate in raids and interact with Gyms from a farther distance away) would remain in the game for the foreseeable future, though others such as the distance required to hatch eggs and the increased effectiveness of certain items would return to pre-pandemic functions.

This change was met with some criticism, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread in certain regions of the world despite lockdown measures lifting.

Following the increasing case numbers across the US and re-institution of local lockdowns in a number of areas, Niantic has reinstituted the bonuses it revoked last month, which will remain until at least June 2021.

"Additionally, we're continuously monitoring the ever-evolving global situation and are working hard to reschedule previously planned live events to 2021," Niantic wrote in its update. "Health and safety are of the utmost importance. Please stay tuned to our official channels for any rescheduling updates."

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