The rumors were unfortunately true.
Niantic Labs is changing how Remote Raid Passes work in Pokemon Go, and looking over rumblings on the internet, it seems many players are none too happy about it.
Starting on April 6, the price of a pack of three Remote Raid Passes will cost you 525 PokeCoins instead of 300 PokeCoins - a 75% price increase. Prices of single Raid Passes are also increasing and soon will run you 195 PokeCoins instead of 100 PokeCoins - a 95% increase.
But Niantic is going even further, and soon, it will restrict the number of Remote Raids you can participate in within 24 hours. Presently, players can join as many Remote Raids as they wish; however, once April 6 rolls around, players will be limited to five per day. So much for hunting shinies, right?
Niantic said the maximum may change and increase for special events, but it did not elaborate further. Furthermore, it also stated the passes will be included in the pool of potential rewards for Research Breakthroughs, but you will still be limited to packing around only three Remote Raid Passes in your bag.
If you are maxed at three Remote Raid passes, should you earn one from a Research Breakthrough, you will receive a Premium Battle Pass instead.
Luckily, the company is not changing the current overflow, which means that if you have two Remote Raid Passes in your inventory and purchase a three-pack, you can still carry five passes.
For those who can raid in person, a Premium Battle Pass three-pack will be added to the shop for the price of 250 PokeCoins.
According to Ninatic, these changes were "designed to rebalance the game and ensure it is enjoyed by Trainers for years to come." Maybe, unless you have a disability and are unable to access a particular gym, you can't raid because of work hours, you don't drive, are underage, are an introvert, suffer from depression, or live in a remote area without many gyms or players in which to raid with.
The company went on to say that since the introduction of the passes in 2020, because of the need to social distance due to COVID-19, Remote Raid Passes have come to "dominate the experience" of playing Pokemon GO " in a way it "never intended."
"We believe this change is necessary for the long-term health of the game, and we do not make it lightly," said the company. "We feel this is a necessary step toward our goal of preserving and improving the unique experience of playing Pokemon Go—a game we hope you continue to enjoy long into the future."
To soften the blow, the company said it will start rewarding Trainers who participate in five-star raids in person with additional Candy XL and plans to add other new features to "further incentivize" playing the game in person.
Such a policy seems somewhat negligible on the surface because, again, many people who enjoy the game cannot play with others in person. Let's also not forget the threat of catching COVID hasn't passed, as it is still hanging over our heads like the sword of Damocles, and it could fall on any of us at any time.
From a personal standpoint, it is hard for me to participate in raids in person, especially on Raid Night which runs from 6-7pm - prime dinner time. Usually, I don't participate in more than six raids, because to acquire three passes, you have to purchase the second tier of in-game currency, 550 PokeCoins, which runs you $4.99 and adds up. It's not that I have an aversion to spending money on the game - far from it. The developers need a paycheck, and purchasing the in-game currency and premium tickets to access events help pay their salary. Still, dropping $5 multiple times to raid adds up when you are on a raid kick. And the price increase will definitely deter quite a few I imagine, but how much of an incentive is that to get out and about to raid? That remains to be seen, but it won't change how I raid. I just won't raid as much and thus spend less money.
Niantic said it plans to keep Remote Raid Passes as part of Pokemon Go; however, it should reconsider the daily limit, especially for hardcore raiders, who have no problem throwing money toward acquiring Remote Raid Passes. These passes make money, and while Niantic's main objective (according to the company) is to help facilitate a sense of community between people locally, it should also take into consideration the global community at large that plays the game and is estimated to be 150 million strong at last count.
If players are enjoying a feature, again, a feature that makes the company money, why shake things up? If a company wishes to raise the price of its offerings, fine: prices frequently increase in many mediums, but limiting how devoted customers play your game - well, it just seems illogical to me.