Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Pokemon Go's Remote Raid Changes Pit Devs & Players Against Each Other (Again)

"Pokémon Go" launched back in 2016, and it's undergone lots of changes, updates, and expansions over the years. These changes haven't always been popular with players, but a recent announcement regarding remote raid passes is taking conflict between gamers and Niantic to a new level.

Niantic introduced "Pokémon Go" remote raids back in April 2020, allowing players to use special passes to take part in raids anywhere in the world. Players quickly embraced this development, even creating apps to support remote raiding. Remote raids, along with extended range for Pokéstops and gyms and other modifications, were designed to keep "Pokémon Go" fun and playable during the height of the Covid pandemic and associated lockdowns. As lockdowns have lifted, however, Niantic has begun to roll back changes and remote raid passes are next on the list.

In an announcement at the end of March, Niantic revealed that the price of raid passes would soon be increasing and that players would be limited to five remote raids per day, with possible increases during special events. This will force players who like raiding to participate more in local raids that run from 5 AM to 7:45 PM local time and require players to be physically present at the raid gym. This change is not going down well with players.

Niantic's vision vs. player needs

Niantic has explained that these changes, along with increasing rewards for participating in local raids, are designed to encourage more interaction between players in the real world. "Pokémon GO," according to Niantic, was always meant to be about playing with others, and this model is vital to its success. The raid passes, while not being eliminated entirely, have become too central to the gameplay experience and, thus, need to be downplayed in the future.

Many players, on the other hand, are frustrated by the planned change and are pushing for Niantic to reverse course. The hashtag HearUsNiantic has begun appearing on Twitter, and a petition on Change.org has already received more than 98,000 signatures. Those opposed to the change are arguing that remote raids are a fun and necessary part of the game now and that their removal will diminish the experience. They further emphasize that this change will especially hurt players in rural areas, those with certain disabilities, and anyone else who finds it difficult to locate, access, and participate in raids in their own communities.

This conflict mirrors a previous controversy when Niantic moved to roll back the extended range of Pokéstops gyms on the grounds that it would promote more player interaction. Players opposed those changes as well, making similar arguments about player accessibility. In that case, Niantic later admitted it botched the decision and made changes in response to the backlash.

It remains to be seen if Niantic will stick to its decision this time — or if player pushback will produce another reversal.