Yep, it seems that there is indeed now a hard Pokémon GO Speed Limiter, and there may have been a version in place for some time. Those playing Pokémon GO on the bus may not have been paranoid thinking they were coming across less Pokémon after all!
Paul Tassi at Forbes has reported that along with the version 0.41.2 for Android and 1.11.2 for iOS’ official patch notes, it seems that the ongoing safety updates have quietly rolled out an absolute elimination of Pokémon spawns above “driving speed”, roughly 30mph. This follows on from a suspected decrease in sightings at similar speeds.
Niantic haven’t commented on this themselves, so it’s not impossible that it could one of Pokémon GO‘s many bugs. But with the escalation in safety responses from the game’s developers it’s not that surprising either.
This has the obvious downside of disallowing people who are not driving from catching Pokémon while they are perfectly safe travelling at high speeds, such as on most people’s daily commute because it’s 2016. That means no Pokémon as a passenger in a car. No Pokémon on the bus. No Pokémon in your taxi or Uber. No Pokémon on the train. No Pokémon!
While it is true there have been numerous Pokémon GO accidents involving traffic, it’s difficult to know if this is really okay or not. It’s sort of like having to do a breathalyser test to start your car every time. I mean I guess it would make sense, but it wouldn’t really feel right, would it? To be honest I’m more likely to get into an accident playing Mystic Messenger (an incredible real time mobile visual novel game) than I am Pokémon GO, but that doesn’t have a speed cap on it? Should it?