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Niantic is planning quarantine-friendly adaptations for its mobile AR games

Niantic aims to help fans cope with the pandemic. (Source: Niantic)
Niantic aims to help fans cope with the pandemic. (Source: Niantic)
Fans of games like Pokemon GO or Ingress may find it harder to pursue this kind of augmented-reality (AR) gaming while self-isolating against the risk of Covid-19. However, their maker Niantic has announced that it will shortly introduce new updates that make them more compatible with playing while stuck at home.

Smartphone games that use AR can be a useful way to keep active and distracted, 2 things many people affected by Covid-19 lockdown or quarantine measures may be after these days. However, these apps also typically incentivize high-volume or long-range travel on foot, something the same individuals may be restricted from these days.

Niantic has addressed this by releasing a new road-map of feature updates to its games that take the need to self-isolate into account. For example, in Pokémon GO, the normal minimum requirement to walk 3 kilometers in order to unlock GO Battle League has been rescinded. In addition, steps taken around the house as normal (or using home fitness tech) will soon count towards more achievements.

The company is also looking into a way of allowing Raid Battles to be conducted from homes. Furthermore, the normal Portal count needed to advance during a session of Ingress is to be reduced. In addition, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will update to bring more content (e.g. potion ingredients) nearer to the user.

Finally, these AR games should also continue to be fun for players in need of some outdoors time - in conjunction with local health authority advice and adequate social distancing, of course.

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Deirdre O Donnell, 2020-03-31 (Update: 2020-03-31)
Deirdre O'Donnell
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.