Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Abnormal Use On Pokemon Go

As many of you are now aware, the Pokémon Go app was unveiled last week in the United States. Although the app has only been officially released in limited areas, the app has had more than a significant impact on Nintendo’s (the parent company) worth. In just a matter of days after the release of the new Pokémon Go app, Nintendo’s value increased by more than $10 billion.

The popular app has also stirred up quite a few entertaining stories, and there are more to come. One particularly interesting anecdote was shared by a gentleman named Boon Sheridan via his Twitter account. Mr. Sheridan reported that his home (which was previously the location of a church over 40 years ago) was designated as a gym by the app. So over the past few days, scores of Pokémon Go participants have appeared outside of Mr. Sheridan’s home to “train” their Pokémon characters in this virtual gym. Initially, Mr. Sheridan seemed amused that his home was identified as a gym; however, he may not have realized the app’s popularity and his amusement soon turned to irritation as people continued to loiter outside of his home for 10-15 minutes and then leave. Mr. Sheridan complained of constant traffic and even the possibility of decreasing property values. Recently, there was also a motor vehicle accident reported in Auburn where a driver went off the road and struck a tree while playing the Pokémon Go game.

With so many interesting stories surfacing every day, it seems inevitable that at some point someone will bring a claim against the Nintendo Co. I believe it will be unlikely that a driver distracted by the game will have success in bringing a claim, but maybe an unsuspecting pedestrian chasing a Squirtle into a precarious situation, or a player going to the wrong gym at the wrong time, will be the first to take a shot at Nintendo. I think this may be the most likely scenario judging from the reports of extremely odd locations of some of the Pokémon landmarks and strange encounters that have occurred while playing the game.

In any event, it will be interesting to see if the app will maintain its popularity and player enthusiasm, and if so, what stories will we hear next.

Comments

  1. Pokemon GO locations were established by the player base of Ingress, an augmented reality game produced by Niantic Labs.
    These locations have been vetted as safe by a community of responsible adult players. That doesn’t necessarily mean all of them will be safe for distracted children. Still, with a clear and easy way to report potentially dangerous, illegal or otherwise problematic locations it is simple for any player with a concern to bring it to the attention of the company.
    I’d suggest that Nintendo and their partner are already doing more than necessary to protect players. Choosing to play a game that will consume some of your attention in the real world in real time is a risk each player must accept. Statistically speaking, playing either game is safer than taking a shower and the extra exercise is good for you.