Pokémon Go is the most successful app to be distributed by the Apple App Store and could reportedly generate as much as $3 billion in revenue for Apple over the next one to two years. This doesn’t consider that the game is available as a download for Android phones, as well. It’s estimated that in the United States nearly 21 million people, or six percent of the population, have downloaded the app. The game has also been released in other countries around the world.
The game itself is a free download and is called an augmented reality game. It makes use of the smart phone’s GPS to draw players to locations where Pokémon are hanging out. Pokémon are invisible creatures, based on the original cartoon, that can only be seen over the smart phone’s camera. The game also displays a map of the player’s current location and nearby Poké stops, which are places where Pokémon may be hiding, which tends to draw players to that location.
Once located, the Pokémon are then seen over the phone’s camera, which shows the actual scene and shows the invisible Pokémon sitting next to people or things in the camera image. Once a Pokémon is sighted, it is captured by shooting a Poke ball at it. If successfully captured, the player is rewarded with candies or stardust. Poke balls can be purchased as an in-app purchase.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
The game has been credited with causing several real world outcomes. In New York, Staten Island museums are seeing surges of visitors, due to Pokémon players entering the museums to find Pokémon. People are getting out of the house and visiting places they’ve never been before because of the game.
However, locally here in Las Vegas, there has been some issues. Reports of pedestrian Pokémon players running into bystanders because they’re so absorbed in catching the nearby Pokémon are common. Las Vegas has seen criminals attacking players in public places because players are so distracted in the game, they didn’t see it coming.
Knifings have occurred in Desert Springs park, and a gunfight has broken out at Freedom Park near Pecos and Washington, between a person intent on robbing players. Metro has even issued a list of safety tips to Pokémon players. These include not displaying items of value in public, and using a “Buddy System” while playing, so that you’re not alone while playing in public places.
In Henderson, a woman drove off the road, over a sidewalk and into a neighborhood park where children were playing. There’s even a report of an injury accident in Syracuse, New York, when a driver who was playing the game drove off the road into a tree.
We have covered distracted driving previous on this blog: see Law Enforcement Announces Crackdown on Distracted Drivers. In the state of Nevada, it is a given that if a cell phone is in your hand while driving, you may be subject to a citation.
WE CAN HELP
Ticket Busters supports new technologies. We have our own app available in the iOS app store and Android play store. Pokémon Go is a popular phenomenon. We, however, encourage all drivers to leave it alone when behind the wheel. However, if you have received a ticket for distracted driving for playing Pokémon Go or other cell phone use while driving, give us a call. We’ll discuss your situation and give you some options. Call us at 702-666-6666, and play safe!