Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-03-24 15:26 JST)
Niantic has announced that Community Day events in Pokémon Go are being shortened from 6 hours to 3 in a decision that has come under fire from players.
Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality game from Nintendo and Niantic. Each month, an in-game event called Community Day is held in which a specific Pokémon appears in large numbers. It’s also easier to catch shiny variants of the Pokémon during the event, and if you evolve the Pokémon within a certain amount of time after the event starts, it can learn exclusive moves. For Pokémon Go players, it’s definitely something worth participating in.
On March 23, the official website for the game was updated with information about April’s upcoming Community Day. The featured Pokémon will be Stufful, and the event will be held on April 23 during the 3-hour window of 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. But this 3-hour window for the event sent ripples through the community. That’s because over the last 2 years there has been a precedent of Community Days lasting for 6 hours.
Originally, Community Days were 3-hour events. The practice of making them 6 hours long started back on April 25, 2020. That day’s event was given the subtitle “Play at Home Edition” and was conceived as a way to keep players home to help stop the spread of COVID-19. While this change was intended to be only temporary, these 6-hour Community Days have since become the standard to players. But it looks like Niantic now plans to bring Community Day back to its original 3-hour roots.
One reason they give for the change is the positive response to the Community Day Classic event that was held in January. This event was a special return to the original Community Day format and was held for 3 hours. Another reason Niantic states is that only 5% of players participate for over 3 hours. With those things in mind, Niantic explains that they have decided to try out the 3-hour format again.
But this revival of the 3-hour schedule has caused a stir with players that have grown used to the 6-hour format. Under the official tweet regarding the event, we can see players pushing back against the idea of only 5% of players participating for more than 3 hours, with some saying that 6 hours allows them to squeeze it in during other activities. Pokémon Go is a location-based game, so it’s the kind of game you play alongside other activities. The number of players solely focused on catching Pokémon during Community Day are likely few. Not taking that into account and just looking at the percentage of players playing long hours is being viewed as short-sighted by fans.
We can also see responses under the official tweet from the Japanese language account of players saying that because of work and such they can’t participate during that 3-hour timeframe. Certainly, with work and school, many players will have to abandon their hopes of participating with the event only running from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
On the other hand, the popular streamer FleeceKing seemed to approve of the change and commented, “I personally feel 3 hours is much more comfortable and less tiring on a community day.” To the most hardcore players, this kind of time restriction might be seen as a good thing. However, FleeceKing does ultimately think that 6 hours is best for the community as a whole. “6 hours feels much more like a ‘day’and simply gives people more time to play with less pressure.”
Behind the dissatisfaction toward shortening Community Day is possibly a larger opposition to the game returning to how it used to be. Even before this, we could see the game taking policies that were put in place as measures against COVID-19 and returning them to how they were, which was also met with an outcry from fans. One of these measures was making PokéStops and gyms usable from up to 80 meters instead of 40. When Niantic tried to return this back to 40 meters in 2021, fans made it known that they weren’t happy about the idea and the decision was reversed.
Making Community Day 6 hours long was also originally due to COVID-19. While many are still being cautious, trying to return things back to the way they were could be another target for criticism.
While making Community Day a 3-hour event could increase the number of concurrent players, it’s a double-edged sword because it limits the time and freedom players have to squeeze it into their days. After receiving criticism over the decision, it will be interesting to see what Niantic does in response.