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Pokémon Go raises the price of Remote Raid passes inviting concerns of ableism

Pokémon Go’s Remote Raid Pass is due to have its price raised on April 6. 

Remote Raids were a feature introduced during the COVID pandemic. It allowed players to continue playing during the lockdown – a time when it was tough for anyone to Pokémon Go anywhere. Remote Raids allowed players to engage in tough PvE battles from the comfort of their own homes; however, it looks like Niantic, the developers behind the AR mobile-based monster-catching simulator, are placing a higher premium on the feature. 

Niantic will increase the Remote Raid Pass three-pack price from 300 to 525 PokéCoins, while a single Remote Raid Pass will now set you back 195 PokéCoins up from 100. However you look at it, this is a significant increase in cost, almost doubling the amount of currency required to enjoy the feature. 

Price hikes in a video game will never be popular, but the increased cost of Pokémon Go’s Remote Raids cause even more concern than you might expect. Both disabled players and players who live in remote parts of the world benefitted hugely from the feature, and will now have a more challenging time enjoying the raids. 

One Reddit user, Sweaty_cockroach7708 has called for a mass boycott in a post that has since been removed by the subreddit’s moderators. Another user, hjuvapena, shared an image likening Pokémon Go to the Titanic, doomed to sink on April 6 as “millions of players lost their interest.”    

Prepare for trouble

A Ditto and pals frolic in a forest

(Image credit: Niantic)

The price rise certainly seems like a cheap shot from Niantic, who have made over $6 billion from Pokémon Go over the past six years. Though Pokémon Go always encouraged players to get out and about, there is a lot to be said about the importance of accessibility. Walking to a nearby Pokéstop isn’t as easy for some as it is for others. Plus, for folks living in remote parts of the world, getting to an important location may be a much taller order than you might expect. 

Walking to a nearby Pokéstop isn’t as easy for some as it is for others

Rather than charge more money for existing features, it would be a far better look for Niantic to introduce new features and charge for those instead. Pokémon Go has enjoyed plenty of events in the past that did just that. The GO Fest and Johto Tour in 2022 generated significant revenue for Niantic by charging players for a “ticket”, comparable to a battle pass in other titles. 

There are, therefore, clearly ways Niantic could have its cake and eat it. Resorting to price hikes, especially when they disproportionately affect more vulnerable players, is unlikely to win the company or its product any favor with fans. Hopefully, Niantic will respond well to the discourse surrounding these changes. However, I wouldn't hold my breath given Niantic’s response to previous price hikes.      

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