Niantic announced in a community note on Tuesday that it’s planning to make life a lot better for Pokémon Go players in rural areas. PokéStops are few and far between, so managing Pokéballs and deciding what’s worth trying to catch turns the game into more of a survival sim than anything else. Or, if you’re like me, you make friends who live in cities and have them send you gifts like a digital IV drip.
Hopefully, that time is coming to an end with Pokémon Go’s future plans. Since its inception, rural players have struggled to keep up with their metro counterparts and this isn’t the first time Niantic has made an attempt to bridge the gap. Gameplay in Pokémon Go revolves around having access to loads of PokéStops – the source of items players need to catch monsters. In rural areas, where there aren’t as many, trainers sometimes have to walk or drive miles before they find one.
Niantic writes in the most recent community notes: “For some time, we’ve been implementing various game-design changes, such as providing more items in areas with fewer PokéStops, introducing different shop bundles, and tailoring raid levels to fit the communities where the raids appear.”
For the most part, these are smart implementations – but the idea of adding a few bundles to the in-game shop and telling rural folks they’ll have to pony up to play is far from a solution. Previously, Niantic has implemented user submitted PokéStops. Players could write in and make their own suggestions, allowing rural communities to use local knowledge to solve their own Pokémon Go problems. As is evident by these community notes, though, that effort wasn’t enough.
Niantic hasn’t said when it’s planning to roll out these rural-minded updates to the game. Rather, the team will continue testing for awhile to determine the best solution.