Update: The Pokemon Go March Community Day was scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 15 but as some suspected that date has officially been canceled. The event itself has been postponed and there is currently no date set for when it will take place.
The decision was made on March 12, suggesting it was one Niantic and co didn't take lightly. Niantic released a brief statement on their Twitter, saying: "The safety of our global player community is our top priority. COVID-19 is challenging us and the world to adjust. We’re putting our focus on expanding features and experiences in our games that can be enjoyed in an individual setting and that also encourage exploration!"
The news has generally been welcomed by the Pokemon community who have applauded Niantic's decision to do their part in minimizing the threat of Coronavirus. With Pokemon Go being a game that requires you to walk about and interact with others, it will be affected by COVID-19 more than other games.
The safety of our global player community is our top priority. COVID-19 is challenging us and the world to adjust. We’re putting our focus on expanding features and experiences in our games that can be enjoyed in an individual setting and that also encourage exploration!
— Niantic, Inc. (@NianticLabs) March 13, 2020
COVID-19 has been in the news anywhere you look and as the threat of the virus increases so does the news coverage. Italy has imposed a nationwide quarantine and on March 11, the United States banned all travel from Europe into the country.
- Read More: Are there too many events in Pokemon Go?
Elsewhere, in the gaming world, E3 2020 has already been canceled despite being three months away, while the Overwatch League has also confirmed that they won't be running any homestands in March or April. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there is discussion about a Pokemon Go event being postponed, too.
Abra Community Day postponed?
The March Community Day being the latest canceled event is exactly what some fans are speculating is going to happen. This isn't just blind conjecture either, there are a couple of things suggesting as such.
Firstly, the Community Day exclusive move is usually announced by around now. With just three days to go until the event, there is still no word on what it will be.
In addition to this, there has been little recent coverage of the March Community Day on the Pokemon social channels - you can make of that what you will. The last tweet about the day came on March 10 which was a fun fact about Alakazam.
Fun ? fact: Alakazam uses its psychic powers to make the spoons it carries. Each spoon is an original that there’s only one of in the whole world. See an Alakazam for yourself by evolving an Abra during this month’s #PokemonGOCommunityDay. pic.twitter.com/5jHqFeSNRC
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) March 10, 2020
Safety from COVID-19 first
It may seem simple enough to just go ahead with the event. After all, it's just some Pokemon trainers walking around having a good time on their mobile phones, right?
Well, that may seem harmless enough but with so many people out on such a large scale, it's, unfortunately, a recipe for disaster when it comes to the Coronavirus. One Reddit user, tildenpark, highlighted the potential fallout with one succinct theoretical headline: "Thousands reportedly catch coronavirus while playing Pokemon."
That is likely a headline the Pokemon Company don't want out in the wild. With so many other events across the world being canceled, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Pokemon Go follow suit.
That doesn't mean they will though, and as of writing they could be fully intending for the event to go ahead. Alternatively, they could encourage trainers to participate from the seclusion of their homes, as recent changes to Pokemon Go have suggested is possible.
Either way, we'll likely get confirmation about the status of the March Community Day very soon.