'Pokémon Go' will roll back some of its COVID-19-related changes

The AR Pokémon game made changes to help players participate even during lockdowns.

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A man uses a mobile phone in front of an advertisement board bearing the image of Pokemon Go at an electronic shop in Tokyo, Japan, July 27, 2016.   REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo
Kim Kyung Hoon / Reuters

As the coronavirus pandemic spread in the spring and summer, Pokémon Go rolled out a series of changes that made it easier for players to keep participating. Now Niantic Labs has announced that while some of the temporary bonuses it added will remain active, several of them will go away as of October 1st.

In April the game added a feature where your buddy Pokémon would gather gifts from nearby PokéStops even if you didn’t leave your home, and now it will only do that if you’re running low. The distance walked to hatch eggs is going back up to where it was previously, and incense that attracts Pokémon will only have increased effectiveness while walking.

The game’s makers have pushed it as a way to encourage activity and movement, and with restrictions loosened in many areas around the world, they’re making some changes to get back to that. On social media, many players requested that Niantic rethink the changes, either because they were welcome improvements to the existing game or because of the still-ongoing pandemic.

The tweaks that will remain after October 1st are as follows:

  • The maximum number of Gifts you can carry in your Item Bag at a time will remain at 20.

  • You will continue to receive three times the Stardust and XP for your first Pokémon catch of the day.

  • Incense duration will remain at 60 minutes.

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