Niantic is still looking for new ways to get Pokemon Go players to return to in-person play, but it won't remove remote raids. That's the message received during a recent roundtable discussion with Pokemon Go Director, Michael Steranka.
"We have no intention right now of removing remote raiding for the regular tiers of raiding – one, three and five-star raids," Steranka said, "but we haven't been shy about the fact we're looking at opportunities for players to get playing in person again."
There has been growing concern within the Pokemon Go community that Niantic would end remote raiding outright. Introduced in April 2020 in response to Covid-mandated lockdowns, remote raids allow Pokemon Go players to take part in raids from the comfort of their own homes. Players found the feature so convenient, however, that many continued to raid remotely even after lockdowns had been lifted.
Niantic has tried to not-so-gently encourage players to return to in-person raiding by removing Remote Raid Passes from the in-game shop's PokeCoin Event Box, and also increasing the cost of a three Remote Raid Pass bundle from 250 to 300 PokeCoins. However, as our own Eric Switzer writes, the move came across "as greedy and coercive."
Steranka confirmed that Niantic has heard Pokemon Go players on this issue. Remote raids will remain, but Niantic plans to dangle more carrots to encourage players to get back outside, starting with this Saturday's Community Day incentive.
"We definitely did everything we could to meet players where there were – where they were forced to be because of the pandemic," Steranka said. "Pokemon Go remains about exploring the world around you. I think unfortunately the pendulum swung a little bit too far to having the complete Pokemon Go experience from the comfort of your couch. And that's just not where we want to be as a product.
"Our approach is generally going to be to introduce new functionality and features to promote [in-person play], rather than retiring remote raiding, which we know players have grown to love over the past two years," he added.
In other Pokemon Go news, the Ultra Beasts of Pokemon Sun and Moon will be coming to Pokemon Go Fest. Each city will receive its own Ultra Beast, with Berlin offering festival goers the chance to meet Pheromosa, Seattle the chance to encounter Buzzwole, and Sapporo attendees the chance to catch Xurkitree. In-person attendees will be offered a new type of Poke Ball called a Beast Ball that will help trainers catch an Ultra Beast as part of a Special Research during the event.
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