As the joke goes, Niantic, the parent company of Pokémon Go, has been quite clear throughout the years that it wants us to go for a “stupid walk for our stupid mental health.” This week, Pokémon Go is introducing a “daily adventure incense” that, as long as you’re moving, attracts “rare” Pokémon to you. This works similarly to the long-standing incense item in the game, but you get one for free every day, and it only lasts for fifteen minutes.
The industry leader in augmented reality aims to lead the way in what it refers to as the “real-world metaverse,” or games and other programs that transport you into the outside world. Players in Pokémon Go are already encouraged to go for walks in order to hatch eggs, discover new Pokémon, and engage in raid fights. However, the daily adventure incense essentially instructs players that if they take a 15-minute walk around the block, they can find rare Pokémon. Players that reside in rural locations and do not have the pleasure of opening their app to view a variety of critters bloom will particularly benefit from this.
The concept of “rare” in Pokémon Go is a little too open-ended in this case. The majority of the spawns, such Bidoof, Yanma, or Rattata, are rather average, but there is a significant exception. Legendary Pokémon like the Galarian variants of Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres have reportedly been spawned, according to some users (so far, after two days of adventure incense, I’ve only been building up my Bidoof army). These legendary spawning are actually not all that common, and the Pokémon can actually run away from your capture attempt, which has some people on social media in a rage.
However, even if you miss anything noteworthy, you still receive a charming little visual to share.
It’s challenging to make entirely accessible games like Pokémon Go, which are best enjoyed while moving around. Blind and low-vision users already struggle to play augmented reality games, but for persons with physical limitations or (Bidoof forbid) those who should not be venturing outside in public due to coronavirus, the requirement to take a 15-minute walk can feel alienating.
Daily adventure incense, however, only makes up a minor portion of the whole game. However, it appears that this is the only way to obtain the Galarian legendary birds, so it shouldn’t be too problematic as long as it doesn’t gatekeep any special Pokémon. Niantic, however, never locks a specific Pokémon for an excessive amount of time. Do you know what it’s like to travel abroad and load up on Pokémon available solely in Asia for trading only to have Niantic randomly introduce Farfetch’d and Torkoal into routine situations? I do. Therefore, it won’t be shocking if these Pokémon appear in raid rewards and study Pokémon sooner rather than later.
With over $1 billion in revenue generated last year, Pokémon Go has continued to be Niantic’s miltank (cash cow). Niantic hasn’t been able to duplicate the success of the six-year-old game, though. Niantic stopped certain initiatives and let go 8% of its workforce last month amid a further market downturn.