Pokemon Go boycott: Player strike goes viral over Niantic decision

Isaac McIntyre
Pokemon Go players are boycotting in Pokemon NO Day over Niantic changes.Niantic / Freepix

The ongoing feud between the Pokemon Go player base and title developers Niantic is set to reach boiling point on August 5, with thousands of furious trainers plotting a “Pokemon NO Day” boycott to protest unpopular Exploration Bonus changes.

Pokemon Go is, of course, a game designed to get people outside, but with the ongoing global health situation far from over, that’s made playing the title tough.

When lockdowns began worldwide, Niantic implemented a much-loved update to Exploration Bonuses. This change, shipped in November, meant Pokemon Go fans could interact with PokeStops and Gyms from much further away. This allowed players to continue their Pokemon Go adventures from home.

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This month, Niantic reverted those changes.

In late June, the devs said they were eager to restore “the focus of Pokemon Go… exploration in the real world”. So far, this reversal has only been met by major backlash, with many players threatening to quit the game.

Now the uproar has come to a head, with the Pokemon Go fandom planning a boycott ⁠— “Pokemon NO Day” ⁠— in a bid to force Niantic to reconsider the changes.

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Pokemon Go Shadow Ho-OhNiantic
The August 5 boycott has been dubbed “Pokemon NO Day” by players and creators.

The plan is for Pokemon Go players to simply stop playing the game. The boycott will include “no raids, no trades, no gyms, certainly [no] buying anything from the shop,” with fans hoping their in-action will “crater Niantic’s servers” for the day.

This boycott will take place on Thursday, August 5.

Prominent Pokemon Go creators like ZoeTwoDots and The Trainer Club have already put their weight behind the movement, with Zoe ⁠(a Niantic partner) saying: “I’m more than down to boycott… if we’re vibing that.

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“I know for myself personally,” the Pokemon star added, “I’m just straight up not spending money in the game until they address it publicly.”

Another major Pokemon Go star, Reversal, declared he will “quit if changes aren’t being made” by Niantic soon. He declared “the removal of double distance is nothing short of a slap in the face towards the Pokemon community.”

Players have also started a Change.org petition, begging Niantic to “keep increased PokeStop distances”. It has already raked in 160,000 signatures.

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Niantic / The Pokemon Company
Pokemon Go players are revolting in a bid to force Niantic to reverse their PokeStops decision.

In perhaps the biggest blow to the Pokemon fans, Niantic did decide to keep some changes from last year, “for the foreseeable future”. These include:

  • Incense duration will remain at 60 minutes.
  • No walking requirement for GO Battle League.
  • Can still challenge another Trainer remotely with a QR Code, and requirement to battle with friends remotely has been lowered to Good Friends.
  • The maximum number of Gifts you can carry remains at 20.
  • Trainers will be able to open up to 30 Gifts per day, up from the previous 20.
  • Trainers still receive 3X the Stardust, XP for first catch of the day.

The devs at Niantic have now responded to the recent boycotts, issuing an official statement where they said they were “humbled” by the feedback from players and promised to take their concerns into consideration.

They also revealed they’re putting together a task force to look into the changes more thoroughly and will report back to the community by the time the next season starts at the beginning of September.

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You can read more about Niantic’s response to the Pokemon Go boycotts here.

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About The Author

Isaac was formerly the Australian Managing Editor at Dexerto. Isaac began his writing career as a sports journalist at Fairfax Media, before falling in love with all things esports and gaming. Since then he's covered Oceanic and global League of Legends for Upcomer, Hotspawn, and Snowball Esports.