Niantic adding ‘exploration bonuses’ to Pokemon Go to get players moving again

Niantic is trying to ease Pokemon Go players into post-pandemic life by adding exploration bonuses to the popular augmented reality title.

Although many regions are still grappling with COVID-19 due to the emergence and spread of new variants, successful vaccination initiatives have allowed for the loosening of certain restrictions in some areas and means a number of countries are now cautiously inching towards normality. 

As a result, Niantic wants to encourage Pokemon Go players to once again slip on their walking shoes by implementing exploration bonuses that incentivize outdoor play. 

“Today, as some parts of the world are moving toward recovery, we’re announcing new exploration bonuses that make it more rewarding to play outside are coming over the next several months, including bonuses for spinning stops, playing at in-person raids, and getting in those steps,” wrote the company. 

“We’re committed to doing this in a staggered way, when it makes sense for each place in the world, to help people play safely. As we return to the outside world again, these changes are aimed at restoring the focus of Pokemon Go on movement and exploration in the real world. These changes will be introduced slowly and carefully to make it more exciting to explore the world around you.”

The studio also intends to remove or amend some temporary bonuses it introduced last year that were designed to make Pokemon Go easier to play in an individual setting or when social distancing outdoors.

“Over the past year, Incense effectiveness was increased to attract Pokemon to you more frequently, even if you weren’t able to leave home. After the change, this effectiveness will be set at the standard level when you’re stationary and increased effectiveness will kick in when you are moving,” it continued. 

“Previously, your Buddy Pokemon brought you more Gifts each day, up to five gifts at once and up to three times a day. This was because we knew Trainers were running low on supplies like Poke Balls and berries to help them catch Pokemon. As we move to encouraging Trainers to play outside more, they can continue to receive supplies from spinning PokeStops. After the change, the frequency of these gifts from Buddy Pokemon will be reduced.”

Niantic explained it’ll be keeping some of its recent tweaks, however, including the addition of a ‘no walking requirement’ for GO Battle League, the ability to challenge any trainer remotely with a QR Code, and an increase to the maximum number of Gifts trainers can carry. 

You can find a full rundown of the upcoming changes over on the Pokemon Go website. The company intends to begin testing its exploration bonuses in the United States and New Zealand starting in July.

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