There’s no hiding from it. Pokémon Go is a phenomenon—just look at our front page. It has surpassed the daily-active-users of the worlds biggest mobile applications; Twitter, Tinder, even Google Maps. News just keeps pouring in as the world is swallowed by the wave of excitement, and desire to Be the very best! Like no one ever was.
Yesterday is was announced that Pokémon Go would be working some B2B magic, allowing sponsored PokeStops. What determines a PokeStop now seems a little bit like those at Niantic just fiddles with some Google Map filters until just enough tourist spot, special murals, historical sites, and parks were lit up.
Some things, like the Asian Anglican church by my apartment is a PokeStop, while the Bus Loop that sees major traffic is not. The exact method of determining these places—that help you in game, acting as a place to collect much needed items, or place lures—has yet to be made public.
With the introduction of sponsored PokeStops, giant corporations can purchase the ability to become these hotbeds of PokeAction in the hopes that the increase of foot traffic will translate into more business. McDonald’s rumored to be the first to sponsor PokeStops will be privy to a mass flood of Pokemon Trainers, looking for a good place to sit down with some French fries, and drop a lure with their pals.
It has sufficiently astonished me just how social this game is. Especially more so everyday, as stories of grand encounters, and friends-made crop up in my feeds.
As more companies (I hear Starbucks is working on a deal similar to McDonalds’) invest in this phenomenon, some have questioned its worth. Does the PokeStop really drive traffic? The answer is yes. Look no further than the slough of places that aren’t too happy with their new found attendance.
In a statement made public the Holocaust Museum’s communication director said “we are attempting to have the museum removed from the game,” as the establishment feels the wandering Pokemon Trainers are showing more disrespect to the meaning of this location, rather than the patronage they deserve. And it’s a point hard to argue.
“Technology can be used as an important learning tool,” Hollinger added “but this game falls well outside of our educational, and memorial mission.”
Much like the understandably frustrated locales, the police of the world have been given an extra dose of worry since the game has been released. The Vancouver Police department called players “Zombie-like” and further encouraged trainers of the city to travel in pairs or more, and not all play at once.
Vancouver Police have received reports of large groups of people seen gathering in parks and on city streets and other public areas, at all hours of the day and night.
The groups appear to be searching for something, many holding cell phones in their air, while others appear to be in a zombie-like state, eyes glued to their phones, as they walk down the street or ride their bikes and skateboards.
Our initial investigation shows they are in pursuit of brightly coloured creatures that don’t appear to be from our world. They head to “gyms” and “Pokéstops,” where they are often seen congregating, in search of the elusive “Pokémon.”
At least they’re having fun with what can only be described, from a policing stand-point, as a headache. A large one.
Be safe out there, Trainers.