Storms will no longer prevent indoors play
Pokemon GO recently introduced weather to the game, in-game patterns modeled off the present real-world situation. If it is one way outside, it will be the same in-game; come rain, snow or shine.
The weather patterns influence the appearance rates of certain types of Pokemon, a nice touch of detail and realism. However, it has also incentivized weather-based travel, including going out in storms. This was something Pokemon GO needed to fix.
The initial fix was to bar all play if a trainer’s location was that of a storm. On the surface, it worked—no one can head into a storm to play if the storm shuts down the game. But it also had an unforeseen consequence, barring play even when the trainer was safely indoors.
The Pokemon GO system has always been a little finicky. Before this, trainers were prohibited from playing when traveling too fast, as simulated by a moving vehicle. It was meant to address the increase of traffic accidents related to Pokemon GO and was implemented early. But it too had unintended results, stopping even those who were merely in the passenger’s seat.
The vehicle problem was fixed by including a screen that would allow trainers to confirm that they were not the ones driving. Upon confirmation, play would resume. The storm problem has found a similar solution, allowing trainers to confirm that they are in a safe place to resume play.
Neither situation stops players from performing the dangerous activities. If one wanted, they could still play while driving or seek out Pokemon in blizzards and thunderstorms. The solution only gives Niantic a certain freedom from liability in the actions of these players.
The solution is a good fix for trainers who are safe and responsible but prohibited by the buggy system. But as with all cases, it is up to the person not to abuse the system; to be smart in the usage of their phone.
Drive safe, and don’t go tromping around blizzards looking for something virtual.