The growing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has many people wondering what they can do to stay occupied while they sit at home and practice social distancing. For many, video games will be a perfect answer.
However, one of the world’s most popular mobile games, Pokémon Go, depends on players getting up to leave the house. Until now, that is.
Niantic, the game’s developer, is making some temporary changes to Pokémon Go so that players can continue to catch Pokémon without leaving the house.
At this point, social distancing is one of the most important things that everyone can do to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Although it may lead to days full of boredom, it is also a lifesaving measure for the elderly and those with chronic illnesses who are more susceptible to deadly side effects from the virus.
So, it’s important to find things to do while staying home. Thanks to Niantic’s forward thinking, playing Pokémon Go is now on the list of things you can do.
Although the company didn’t mention the new coronavirus in the blog post where it details a number of updates to the game, the two are linked. It said in a statement to Polygon that the new updates are “based on the current global health situation.”
Niantic also encourages players to “make decisions on where to go and what to do that are in the best interest for their health and the health of their communities.”
To help keep players from congregating in public to catch Pokémon, Niantic is rolling out some changes that will stay in place “until further notice.”
Gotta Catch ‘Em All (From Home)
Each of the new features added to Pokémon Go is designed to allow users to play at home and limit their time at public PokeStops and Gyms.
For one, a 30-pack of Incense, which makes creatures spawn near your location more frequently, will cost just one PokeCoin. It also lasts for one hour now rather than 30 minutes.
However, cheap Incense isn’t the only way that players can get new Pokémon while sitting at home.
Incubators will now require just half the number of usual steps to hatch an Egg. At the same time, those who do choose to (safely) visit a public PokeStop will find that gifts are now dropping more frequently. As such, players don’t need to spend as much time in close proximity.
Finally, Niantic is increasing the number of Pokémon habitats. it’s also increasing how often creatures spawn in the wild so that players will be able to catch them from home.
Although Pokémon Go isn’t typically a game to play at home, today’s global situation reflects a need for flexibility. By tweaking its ever-popular game, Niantic is showing how everyone can do their part.
So, as you hang out at home for the next few weeks don’t forget to check out these new features. Coronavirus or not, you still gotta catch ‘em all—just stay home while you do it.