Niantic has been tweaking Pokémon Go in an effort to make it more playable from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and today it’s announcing one of the biggest changes yet: raid battles will soon be accessible remotely. The company is adding a new item called a Remote Raid Pass to the in-game store, letting you play raids that appear on the app’s map or “nearby” page without having to go to the physical location.
Traditionally, raid battles involve several players gathering in one real-world spot, which is impractical in this time of social distancing. Most legendary pokémon, for example, are normally only able to be captured after you defeat them in raid battles, and those battles are too difficult for a single player to win. With this change, you’ll be able to join the battles in your general area without actually walking over to do so, though Niantic says only a “limited number” of the 20-player raid cap can use Remote Raid Passes at once.
Remote Raid Passes will be available this month for 100 pokécoins ($0.99, or less if you buy in bulk) each at first, and Niantic will also sell a one-time bundle that includes some passes for a single pokécoin. A similar remote-play feature is also coming soon to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Niantic is making a few more indoor-focused updates to Pokémon Go, including a bonus Field Research task every day and the ability for your buddy pokémon to go bring you gifts. Both of those features normally require you to visit a pokéstop.