Niantic Responds to COVID-19 by Making Pokemon Go a Better Single-Player Game

Niantic Responds to COVID-19 by Making Pokemon Go a Better Single-Player Game

Pokemon Stay at home and chill.

The quick spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us all to adapt to a low-contact life on the fly. "All" even includes Niantic, the makers of social apps like Pokemon Go. Abra Community Day, which was scheduled for this Sunday, has been postponed. Niantic's also implemented changes to Pokemon Go that should make the game easier to play from home.

Niantic lists the changes—all of which are in place until further notice—on the official Pokemon Go blog as well as a tweet it made yesterday. Niantic says it's "putting our focus on expanding features and experiences in our games that can be enjoyed in an individual setting," and has adjusted accordingly:

  • Incense, which attracts more Pokemon to your area, now comes in a bundle of 30 and costs 1 PokeCoin. The usual price for Incense is 1 for 40 PokeCoins, or 8 for 250 PokeCoins. An Incense also lasts for an hour instead of the usual 30 minutes.
  • The walking distance necessary to hatch Pokemon Eggs has been halved. For example, a 10 km Egg now needs 5 km.
  • PokeStops now drop gifts more frequently. I can confirm this one for myself. When I was out and about yesterday, I got a gift at pretty much every PokeStop I visited.
  • More Pokemon will spawn in the wild. I can't confirm this as easily because my area was never lacking for spawns, but theoretically people in more rural areas should notice a difference.

While the postponement of Abra Community Day is a downer—albeit a downer for a good cause—Niantic's adjustments to Pokemon Go are thoughtful. The Incense and increased spawns will let you catch more Pokemon while you're at home (or in bed, if you've been struck down), and the reduced kilometer requirements for Egg hatching gives you some motivation to get a little fresh air away from crowds.

If you're looking to play some Pokemon Go while everyone's collective chips are down, we have tons of guides to help you along. Stay safe, and wash your hands.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve,, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

In other news

Xbox Confirms Game Pass Streaming for PCs and iOS Will Launch in Spring

Browser-based Xbox cloud gaming is just around the corner.

Halo Infinite Has Been Pushed Back to Fall 2021

Yes, Infinite will be coming out about a year later than originally intended, but test flights are making a comeback.

Xbox Series X Optimized Games Will Have Fast Fixes and More Quick Resume Support, Microsoft Says

Certain performance quirks and absent features won't be around for long, at least not according to Microsoft.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Pushes Back Season One Launch and Warzone Debut

You'll still be leaving Verdansk for a new Cold War locale soon, just not *that* soon.

Need help?

Fortnite Season 10 Battle Pass, New Skins, Map Changes - Everything We Know

Here's our guide to the Fortnite Season 10 Battle Pass, new map changes, and more.

Apex Legends Crypto - Abilities, Backstory, How to Unlock Crypto

Here's everything you need to know about Crypto in Apex Legends, including his abilities, backstory, price, and how to unlock the new legend.

Destiny 2 Xenophage Quest - How to Get the New Xenophage Machine Gun

This is how to complete the Destiny 2 Xenophage quest, including all puzzles, and more.