Niantic is attempting to convince the people who play Pokémon Go to stay home. To assist in that monumental (and antithetical) task, it’s now allowing users to join Raid battles from the comfort of their own homes.
Players can buy the Remote Raid Pass from the in-game store, which will — as the name suggests — allow you to access nearby raids without being physically close to the site. In other words, you’ll be able to raid without leaving your home. Niantic’s also offering a few other ways to effectively play the game without going out, including getting an extra field research task and your Pokémon friends collecting gifts for you from Pokéstops so you don’t have to sally forth.
It’s a strange reversal of fortune for Pokémon Go, the game that used to encourage everyone to get off their butts and go outside. This game sent everyone out in such massive droves, on the hunt for rare monsters, that they’d wreak havoc on the ecosystem. Now because of the coronavirus, it’s tasked with encouraging its millions of still-active users to do the complete opposite. To Niantic’s credit, it’s tried several things to accomplish that, and it didn’t necessarily have to. After all, the game doesn’t necessarily encourage human contact, which is the real danger in a pandemic like this.
Raids, on the other hand, encourage exactly that, as they are generally a group activity. Stopping people from getting together for a raid could do the most social good out of any of Niantic’s efforts.
Gaming has otherwise been an invaluable pastime that many have taken up as they’ve been forced to adopt hermetic lifestyles during the outbreak. After all, it’s a pastime that’s designed to keep you indoors and occupied for hours on end — which presumably is why the World Health Organization’s chosen to take it up as a cause. While Pokémon Go is the exception, given its unique (and influential) gameplay, it’s nice to see it can still be played from the comfort of home.
According to Niantic, the Remote Raid Passes should be available “soon.”