Pokemon GO Remote Raid Passes Price Increase Feels Questionable

Pokemon GO Remote Raid Price Motivations Seem Questionable

Yet another element of Pokemon GO is about to cost people more. Niantic announced at the end of March 2023 that a price increase is coming. The Remote Raid Passes cost in Pokemon GO is doubling on April 6, 2023, and it’s paired with a limit that caps usage of them to five times per day. In its official announcement, Niantic’s official statement tried to suggest it’s about encouraging community by getting people to gyms, with other players, and active. However, given the way it is going about it, it also carries avaricious overtones. At the very least, it shows a lack of consideration.

Niantic claimed this is about the “long-term health” of the game. Its announcement mentioned a drive “to further incentivize playing Pokemon GO in person with your friends, family, and community.” However, the developer’s means of disincentivizing Pokemon GO Remote Raid Passes involves a price hike of what it establishes is a popular feature in the announcement. Given a single Remote Raid Pass ahead of the increase is 100 Poke Coins, that is exactly $0.99. That’s $2 after it goes up to 195 on April 6, 2023. While the three pack is “cheaper” and gives players them for 525 Poke Coins, you are still spending $4.99 for a 550 Poke Coin bundle if you don’t want to wait to try and earn 50 Poke Coins per day. Especially since those coins aren’t guaranteed, since it involves taking over Gyms, holding positions, and presumably being knocked out each day to hit that quota.

Now, even with the existing, lower price point, if people used the Remote Raid Pass option in Pokemon GO, there’s a chance Niantic was greatly benefitting off of it. People taking part in this fashion weren’t present at the gym. This means they might not be able to get to gyms in general on a regular basis, meaning they’d be losing the free method of acquiring Poke Coins. Also, if there is this assumption that the accessibility feature does “dominate” gameplay, then it stands to reason Niantic would assume those loyal players would continue to take advantage of that option, even if the price did go up.

So if this is a sort of altruistic action for apparently the game and its players’ benefit, why not make changes that motivate those actions without potentially involving money? Especially given that these are all virtual items with potentially no additional cost due to using existing assets. Daily Adventure Incense ended up introduced in 2022. It works for 15 minutes and draws in Pokemon if you’re walking. Well, if this is really about getting people outside and exercising, increase the timer on that. Make it 30 minutes. You need to walk to hatch eggs. Give everyone one or even two more unlimited Egg Incubators, since that doesn’t cut down on the distance needed to hatch. Or, failing that, reduce the price of the ones being sold for coins. You want to get more people physically at gyms, with other players? On Community Days, there are often Raid events that result in Pokemon spawns after successful raids. Make that a regular occurrence, instead of something to mark a special occasion.

Speaking of prices, it’s difficult to see this as being about anything other than a cash grab when considering the other price hikes implemented over the last year. Around September 2022, Niantic drastically increased the cost of the Item Boxes people can purchase with Poke Coins. In early 2022, we could see substantial discounts that made it worth saving up coins from Gyms. For example, there used to be a 250 Poke Coin Item Box that would give a person two Remote Raid Passes and a Premium Raid Pass. As I don’t spend money on Pokemon GO, I would regularly save up for two or three months to get the 1,480 Poke Coin Adventure Box with between 2-3 Egg Incubators and 14-18 Super Incubators, as well as a number of miscellaneous items like Incense, Lucky Eggs, and Star Pieces. A similar sort of box now can run between 1,990 and 2,299, depending on the event and time. When it does, it means far fewer Super Incubators. However, the March 31, 2023 Voyager Box did include 10 Super Incubators, 12 Egg Incubators, a Lucky Egg, and a Star Piece for 1,990.

The fact that the company also doesn’t seem to be listening to its players makes it seem all the more concerning. Since the Remote Raid Passes price increase announcement, there’s been an outcry from Pokemon GO players. It’s valid for many reasons. For people in rural communities, it made the game playable. For people with accessibility issues, it meant they could continue to take part without needing to worry about walking distances that might not offer easy means of traversing them or being around groups of people in the midst of a pandemic. Not to mention it’d be a boon in inclement weather.

The Pokemon GO Remote Raid Passes pricing situation feels like it should, at the very least, involved a conversation. If this sort of change felt necessary in the eyes of Niantic, then the company could have spent time exploring means of implementing an adjustment that didn’t simultaneously involve taking a feature that came to “dominate” the game and potentially earn even more money off of it. Instead, it’s a sweeping declaration with little time to prepare and no signs of hearing its audience, and that’s unfortunate.

Pokemon GO is available for Android and Apple iOS devices.

Jenni Lada
About The Author
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.