Pokémon GO temporarily changes key features due to the coronavirus
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As concerns grow over social gatherings and the impact the COVID-19 coronavirus will have on people’s lives, Pokémon GO is making it easier to play from home. Niantic and The Pokémon Company are temporarily changing key features of the game, hoping to help Pokémon GO fans to avoid possible exposure while still playing. For a game that thrives on social interaction and large community-focused events, this could be a necessary step in keeping that community alive.

In a statement to Polygon, a Niantic representative said that the studio is “prioritizing updates to Pokémon GO features and experiences that can be enjoyed in individual settings.” Specifically, Niantic is increasing the number of habitats where Pokémon spawn. This way, players at home or with limited travel options can see more of the little creatures.

Niantic is also changing some purchasable items to work more efficiently while in one location. A special Incense box that includes 30 Incenses will be available at a discounted price, down to just one PokéCoin. Incubators will also receive a temporary boost, now hatching eggs twice as fast.

For another change, PokéStops will give gifts at a higher rate than before. Increasing the gift drop rate makes gift-giving easier, which will allow players to earn XP at a steadier rate.

Keeping the Pokémon community together

Niantic separately announced that the Abra Community Day scheduled to take place this Sunday, March 15, will be rescheduled. Niantic did not say when the event would move to, instead just asking fans to watch for more news soon.

Niantic is also releasing a new Special Research called “A Drive to Investigate”. Players will complete special quests to unlock the legendary Paleozoic Pokémon, Genesect. This Special Research will require players to purchase a ticket to participate, however. A Drive to Investigate will be available for players from March 20-26.

Alongside that new research, Niantic will host a special weekend event from March 20-23. This will see several specific Pokémon types and species appear more often. You’ll also earn double the stardust from catching and hatching creatures.

“While we’ve made these updates based on the current global health situation,” the Niantic representative noted to Polygon, “we also encourage players to make decisions on where to go and what to do that are in the best interest of their health and the health of their communities.”

How do you feel about Niantic and The Pokémon Company working to keep Pokémon GO accessible? Is it enough to keep the community alive? Let us know if you will keep playing in the comments below. Make sure to follow Daily Esports for more Pokémon news and updates.

Ryan Hay is a writer and content creator currently living in New York. Video games, anime, and Magic: The Gathering have all been strong passions in his life and being able to share those passions with others is his motivation for writing. You can find him on Twitter where he complains about losing on MTG Arena a lot.