The latest mobile craze has hit the streets, quite literally. Pokemon Go, a free-to-play augmented reality game based on the Pokemon franchise, has caught the imagination of Android and iOS users all over the world, with early figures suggesting the app is being used more than social media giants Twitter and Instagram.
The location-based game pulls on the inner child of ageing Pokemon fans, while catering for the current generation of youngsters, who could learn a thing or two off their reminiscing elders. A mobile-generated recreation of the prosperous model, Pokemon Go enables users to become ‘trainers’ and capture fictional creatures, ‘Pokemon’, on the streets, using the phone’s clock and GPS to detect where you are and what time it is.
While the game is focused on bringing fiction closer to reality, the craze also encourages activity in the form of getting out the house, walking the streets and ultimately, capturing the rarest Pokemon their is to find. There are also social benefits, as captivated users share a common interest in the game, join together in search for new species and post comical Pokemon Go-related screenshots on social media, creating yet another trend.
But while the game offers many benefits, there is room for error further down the line. Combining the addictive nature of these types of games and the required movement of walking the streets, at any hour, could spell danger as real-life game-related incidents are likely to unravel the longer the craze escalates.
People have been wrapped up in their phones for long enough already, without the introduction of Pokemon Go, and although the new game could be seen at both ends of the social spectrum, the movement towards late-night venturing is the most worrying aspect of them all.
In America, where the game is soaring in popularity, armed robbers were believed to have used the game to lure game players into secluded areas to be robbed. With players searching far and wide to find different types of Pokemon, a window has opened for crime in unexpected areas, with people visiting unknown sites, at various hours, to fulfil the purpose of the addictive mobile app.
Of course, you cannot live your life in fear of what ‘could’ happen, but remaining sensible outside Pokemon Go’s fantasy world is an important factor in the game’s long-term success. Keep your exploring within reason and don’t put yourself at risk for the sake of a Pokemon, because as much as it hurts to admit, it’s only a game.