As fear of the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, thousands of people are choosing to self-isolate or self-quarantine. Now, even changes to mobile game Pokémon Go are aimed at reducing the risk of exposure while still allowing enjoyment of the game.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended self-quarantining for anyone who fears they might have been exposed to the virus, but that doesn’t make it easy. The shortest recommended quarantine is currently 14 days, which is a long time to be cooped up indoors. So Niantic, the company behind, Pokémon Go, wants to help.
Unlike console or PC games, which essentially require players to stay indoors, Niantic’s popular mobile game is designed to get players out and about. When it hit its peak popularity back in 2016, Pokémon Go enticed more than 28.5 million daily players in the U.S. to explore their cities.
But Pokémon Go‘s play doesn’t jive well with coronavirus fears. In a blog post, Niantic detailed changes that adapt the game to a post-coronavirus outbreak world.
Players can expect the minor changes will make avoiding crowds and public places easier. For example, a single PokeCoin can now buy 30 Incense. It’s a one-time purchase—no stocking up on a lifetime supply of Incense—but each one will last for an hour.
Eggs placed in incubators will also have “1/2 hatch distance,” and PokeStops will offer more frequent gifts. There will be far more Pokémon wandering the world, and the number of “habitats” will increase. All of the changes are effective immediately and will continue until “further notice,” according to the blog post.
Millions of once-passionate Pokémon Go players haven’t had the app on their phone for years, but maybe all they needed to encourage re-downloading was a little global pandemic.
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