Niantic is postponing the Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite community days for March due to concerns around COVID-19. In a statement, the company said that the safety of its players is its "top priority," and that it will adjust its games to better suit current public health advice. Consequently, as well as cancelling the community days, Niantic is making it easier to play Pokémon Go at home.
Both titles, as well as Ingress, are designed to get people out and about, exploring their local area and teaming up in groups. That's the opposite to what people should be doing in the face of a pandemic, with people urged to isolate and reduce close contact with others wherever possible. Community days even more so, given that they reward groups of players that roam around city centers in large packs.
The safety of our global player community is our top priority. COVID-19 is challenging us and the world to adjust. We're putting our focus on expanding features and experiences in our games that can be enjoyed in an individual setting and that also encourage exploration!— Niantic, Inc. (@NianticLabs) March 13, 2020
As well as axing the Abra community day, Pokémon Go has been changed to enable to buy 30 Incense for just 1 PokéCoin. This Incense, which acts as a lure to draw Pokémon to your location, will now last for an hour, rather than the 30 minutes as usual. In addition, hatch distances have been dropped by half if you incubate an egg in the next couple of weeks.
And if you live close to a PokéStop, you'll be able to get gifts more regularly, reducing the need to travel far and wide. Niantic is also tweaking the game so many more Pokémon spawn in the wild, so if you live in a city, you might not need to leave your block but still get plenty of 'mons caught. These new rules are in place "until further notice," and we expect them to remain in place for as long as authorities say there's a risk.