Niantic, the developers behind Pokemon Go, recently rolled back one of the changes they had brought in last year to help players enjoy the game even from the safety of their homes over the pandemic. They had extended the range feature to access gyms and Pokestops making it easier for players to get to them without having to venture out or too close to anyone else. This feature has now been rolled back since many parts of the world have lifted their Covid-19 restrictions. However, given that the number of Covid-19 cases are on the rise again and the threat of the Delta variant is very real, most players are of the opinion that Niantic has rolled out the change too early.
Now, Niantic had announced in June this year that some of the changes they had incorporated to make the game more playable over the pandemic would be rolled back too, including the increased access range feature starting with countries like the US and New Zealand. On the other hand, they had also said in November last year, that some of the Covid-19-related features might be incorporated into the game permanently. But now that Niantic has gone back on their word and Pokemon Go players are not pleased.
In an open letter, one of the largest Pokemon Go communities on Reddit, r/SilphRoad, have reached out to Niantic directly asking them to keep the extended range feature. Dear Niantic, Community and Creators alike wish to voice our concern and disappointment over recent changes to the Pokestop interaction radius reduction in Pokemon Go. While the Pokestop/POI interaction radius was increased due to an unprecedented global pandemic, the flow on effects of this in-game change have had a far greater positive impact on the community, the letter states.
Among other reasons players and fans of the game have cited include the benefits that increased radius brings like road safety, accessibility for disabled players, etc as reason for this change to be reinstated. Prominent Pokemon Go players on Twitter have been using the #HearUsNiantic hashtag to get the developers attention. Niantic has not responded yet on any of the public channels.