Pokemon Go Updates Make the Game Easier to Play Indoors

Pokemon Go will soon be much more accomodating to those who can't go outside due to the coronavirus.

Pokemon Go
Photo: Nintendo

Pokemon Go developer Niantic has announced a new series of updates designed to help people still play the game despite likely being stuck inside due to the spread of the coronavirus.

This all started a couple of weeks ago when Niantic revealed the first of a series of changes to Pokemon Go designed to reduce the time users will need to spend outside in order to play the game. Considering that the entire hook of Pokemon Go‘s gameplay involves wandering the streets and interacting with others…well, you can see how that might be a problem given the social distancing and quarantine protocols that have been implemented to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Many of those early alterations involved rather simple policies such as cancelling major outdoor events and ensuring that certain items lasted longer. An additional series of updates made it easier to challenge friends remotely over long distances. All of those changes helped, but fans noted that certain gameplay mechanics which essentially required them to be outside for longer periods of time still made the game incredibly challenging to play while indoors.

That’s where these latest updates come in to play. The most significant of these recent changes allows players to remotely buy 100 Pokéballs for one PokéCoin. This means that players won’t have to go to outdoor PokéStops just to purchase this essential item. This new bundle, and a previously announced Incense bundle, will be available until March 30th when they will be replaced with new bundle options.

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That addresses one of the most common complaints fans had about the re-imagined Pokemon Go experience, but Niantic isn’t stopping there. They’ve also allowed players to open up to 30 gifts a day (up from 20). That should offer players an additional source of valuable items. Furthermore, everyone will receive triple the XP and Stardust rewards that they’d usually get for their first Pokemon catch of the day. The studio has also cancelled all Lugia raids and is working on a way for people to more easily view available events and live bonuses.

Such updates are welcome and intelligent, but it stands to reason that they won’t be the last changes we see to the game. With more and more countries imposing stricter quarantine rules designed to combat the coronavirus, it stands to reason that venturing outside for any amount of time to play something like Pokemon Go will be a tough sell. We have full faith in Niantic to find creative ways to keep the game going, but we’re curious to see how flexible the core experience really is.