Niantic cancels Community Day events over Covid-19 concerns


Niantic – the game studio behind Augmented Reality games centred around walking outdoors – is cancelling events, instead offering incentives to keep players gaming without going out.

It cancelled two upcoming Community Day events, an Abra themed day for Pokémon Go and a yet to be confirmed theme for Harry Potter Wizards Unite, that were scheduled for later this month.

Niantic said it would also be implementing several changes to Pokémon Go, including halving the distance needed to hatch eggs and giving out more gifts at PokéStops.

The game encourages users to exercise by rewarding them with eggs that hatch when walked a certain distance, while PokéStops are in-game landmarks users interact with to get items and gifts for friends.

It also sold a incense – an item that lures creatures for a specific period of time – for an extremely discounted price and increased the item’s usable duration from 30 minutes to an hour.

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Combined with the higher appearance rates of Pokémon in the wild, this meant players would be able to catch as many creatures even while staying indoors.

Earlier Niantic had cancelled events in Italy, Japan and South Korea due to concerns about the virus.

On March 11, World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Covid-19 can now be characterised as a pandemic.