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Getting Real with Real-World Games: Adjusting Gameplay of 'Pokémon GO' in the Time of COVID-19

Matt Slemon  (Product Manager, Niantic)

Laura Warner  (Senior Game Designer, Niantic)

Date: Tuesday, August 4

Time: 4:00pm - 4:30pm

Pass Type: Conference Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

In 2020, the world was met with a global event with COVID-19 that would change culture and lifestyles as we knew them. As stay-at-home orders were issued globally in March, Niantic moved quickly to adjust gameplay in Pokémon GO to not only keep Trainers safe but to remain a bright spot in many people’s lives during tough times. This talk will look at the challenges presented during the global pandemic and the philosophy, solutions, and features implemented by Niantic to ensure Pokémon GO, a real-world AR game designed to foster exploration, still felt uniquely like Pokémon GO while keeping safety of a global player base as the top priority.


Learn the steps Niantic took to assess and pivot the gameplay of Pokémon GO to accommodate for rapidly changing global events, while still encouraging day-to-day mechanics that support the games underlying goals of discovery, exercise and community.

Intended Audience

Game Designers, Producers