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March 30, 2020
Embracing real-world gaming from home
Blog > Embracing real-world gaming from home
March 30, 2020
Embracing real-world gaming from home

Dear Niantic community,

We are reaching out to extend our best wishes for your wellness at this time of unprecedented challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The increased physical and mental strain can have a lasting impact on people, and we're here for you.

But the world has changed, so what can we do?

We created Niantic with a mission to help people get outside, exercise, and explore the world, with the ultimate goal of helping people connect with others. Today we support a global community of hundreds of millions of people who look to our games for regular entertainment and an opportunity to get outside and connect with friends.

We have always believed that our games can include elements of indoor play that complement the outdoor, exercise and explore DNA of what we build. Now is the time for us to prioritize this work, with the key challenge of making playing indoors as exciting and innovative as our outdoor gameplay.

We are adding to our product roadmap so we can enable more ways to play inside and around the home in the coming days and weeks, when the world needs it most.

While it’s impossible to predict when and how the situation with COVID-19 will evolve globally, we’re going to make the following changes to our games and live events:

  • Exercise: you can track your steps indoor with Adventure Sync so activities like cleaning your house and running on a treadmill count toward game achievements. We’re going to make improvements to Adventure Sync so it works even better with indoor movement and activities.
  • Social: we’re enhancing our in-game virtual social features to enable players to stay in touch when they can’t meet in real life. You’ll soon be able to team up with friends and take on Raid Battles together in Pokémon GO from the comfort of home.
  • Explore: we’re also looking into how we can help players virtually visit and share memories about their favorite real-world places, until they can once again visit them in person.
  • Live Events: we're re-imagining what it means to participate in a Niantic live event this summer, and putting our creative energy towards bringing the excitement directly to your home. That means we're working on an entirely new way to enjoy Pokémon GO Fest. More details coming soon!

As our community knows, we’ve already made a number of changes to adapt to the current environment where group play is no longer possible and outdoor activity may be restricted.

We just launched a new form of gameplay in Pokémon GO called GO Battle League that you can play from anywhere in the world, including at home. We reduced the walking requirements for GO Battle League from 3 km to zero and introduced deeply discounted Incense and Poké Balls so people can catch Pokémon without traveling far. Gifts have more useful content and we increased storage so you can send and receive more gifts.

For Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, we’ve increased the amount of content that’s near you on the map so players should see Spell Energy, more iconic Harry Potter content, and rare potions ingredients that help you make progress. We’ve made potion tuning adjustments so players can have Foundables spawn directly at their house. Among other changes, gifts have also been adjusted to include more helpful resources and we increased the amount of gifts that players can open each day.

Ingress Portals are now tuned to encourage at-home play and we’ve reduced the need to interact with multiple Portals. We've increased the number of Portal hacks before burnout, reduced cooldown period for Portals, and enabled the deployment of two L7 and L8 Resonators per Portal. In addition, Portal recharge has been added as a new means for daily credit towards the Sojourner Medal.

In areas where it is permitted by local authorities, outdoor walks, practiced with proper social distancing, will continue to be a great way to contribute to physical and mental well being and you'll still be able to play our games while you do that. The changes we are making offer an alternative when that’s not possible.

We look forward to the day when we can return to the familiar places we dream about and once again safely play together with family and friends. When the world is ready for that, we’ll be ready too.


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