The much awaited ‘Pokémon Go’ app was released in the US earlier this week. The augmented reality game has already causes some real-life problems for its users, with reports so far including a discovery of a dead body, a robbery, and a multitude of injuries.
The game, which was available for download in America from July 7th, allows users to catch virtual monsters using the person’s location on their phone. The game works by allowing users to walk around local landmarks, called Pokestops, where they can gather supplies such as Pokeballs. Users can then throw Pokeballs at online ‘pocket monsters’ or Pokemon, to capture them for training. Through the app, users can also battle each other at ‘gyms’ to achieve status.
Dead body discovery in Wyoming
In the four days since the app’s release, a nineteen year old from Wyoming discovered a dead body when she went to find a Pokemon in a natural water source. The girl had jumped over a fence to get to the Pokemon shown on her map. The local police department have reported that the death appears to be accidental in nature, and possibly due to accidental drowning.
Robbery in Missouri
Robbers have been using the new Pokémon app in order to lure victims to secluded areas. Earlier this week, four youths were arrested in Missouri after police suspected they used the new game to tempt players into isolated areas where they could easily be robbed. The app allows users to place a “’lure” in a certain area, which means that players have to physically walk there to catch wild Pokémon. It was reported following their arrest, that the suspects were using the app to locate people standing around in the middle of a remote location, which they had been lured to. Using the game’s geolocation feature, the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims.
Other reports from Pokémon Go’s first week include a number of users sustaining injuries as they wander the real world with eyes glued to their smartphone screens in search of digital monsters. One app user fell off his skateboard whilst out searching for Pokemon with the help of his set of wheels. Another user twisted their ankle as a result of falling in a hole after checking the app to see how close to a Pokeball she was.
A series of social media posts about the app appear to have also players to have had Pokemon appear in potentially dangerous situations, such as on car dashboards and at road junctions.
Police have warned players to be careful whilst using the app, by both looking where they are going and making they don’t put themselves in danger.