The whirlwind success of Pokémon Go has added US$7.5-billion to Nintendo’s market value over the course of a few days, but it’s also sparked a series of bizarre misadventures as scores of budding trainers try to “catch ‘em all!”
The free app-based game for Android and iOS uses your device’s GPS and clock to layer the game onto the real world, allowing wannabe Ash Ketchums to hunt and catch the prized pocket monsters with their camera and smartphone screen.
The Pokémon Go was installed on more than five per cent of Android devices in the U.S. just two days after its release, according SimilarWeb Ltd. The UK-based market research firm found the app was being used for an average of 43 minutes and 23 seconds a day. That’s higher than WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook Messenger.
While social media has been flooded with jokes about lazy gamers leaving their parents’ basements, feeling the sun on their skin, and getting some actual exercise; the reality of gaming in the real world has had some unforeseen consequences.
Wyoming teen finds dead body
Nineteen-year-old Shayla Wiggins was hunting for water Pokémon along a rocky embankment next to the Big Wind River behind her home on July 8. While immersed in her iPhone screen, she found herself standing next to a man’s body lying face down in about three feet of water.
Wiggins closed the game to alert the authorities. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office said foul play is not suspected, and the man likely drowned.
Players robbed at gunpoint
Police in O’Fallon, Missouri say four teenagers were using the game to draw Pokémon trainers to a secluded area in order to rob them at gunpoint. The group is suspected of robbing between 10 and 12 people before they were caught on Sunday.
Pokémon Go includes features that can attract players to a specific location, or “PokeStop.” After a certain level in the game, players can meet at local landmarks to join teams and battle.
Massachusetts home tagged as “gym,” draws dozens of gamers
Boon Sheridan was surprised to learn that his Holyoke, Mass. home doubles as a “gym” for players meet to fight their Pokémon. The game usually places gyms in public spaces like parks. Sheridan figures his quiet suburban home was chosen because it used to be a church.
He says a steady stream of people have been lurking around his house with their smartphones in hand since the game launched.