Pokemon Go away!

Adel Gabot




I keep a regular bookmarked list of things I check up on everyday on my browser, and this morning I went to the Time Tech website to see what’s new.

Of the top seven headlines on the front page of Time, one was a speculative article (again) on the look of the forthcoming iPhone 7—and the other six were all about one thing: Pokemon Go.


I was shocked to see how far the game app had come in so short a time. It’s crazy. The game has taken the whole world by storm, and millions of people are actively, furiously playing it.

To those living under a rock, Pokemon Go‘s basically an augmented reality (AR) game on your mobile device where you search for and capture Pokemon—those little weird, cute creatures that your kids (and some adults) have been obsessing over since they first came out years ago. You do it by using your live camera to look for them in your little piece of the world, wandering about in random places all over the city.

To do so, you have to get off your ass and physically go around and look for them. At least I think that’s how it’s done. I’ve haven’t downloaded it, and I don’t think I ever will. Horrid little thing.

Stephen Colbert made the comment that they’ve finally made an app you can’t play while sitting on the toilet. It’s so true. Millions of people are actually getting on their feet and wandering around looking for the damn things, and getting the most physical exercise they’ve probably had in a long time—and causing havoc.

Aside from the many safety issues and concerns the game has created, nothing is more worrying than that it’s putting some people in danger. They’re rushing across streets without looking, heedlessly going to dangerous areas of the city and entering private spaces and homes just because the app has denoted the place as a Pokemon “gym.” Stuff like that.



Pokemon Go was just released last week on July 6 in the US, New Zealand and Australia, and an international rollout had to be staggered and delayed because the gigantic influx of new players was causing server issues. But despite not being as widely released as originally planned, it’s already generated US$14.04 million as of this date.

In fact, Nintendo, the creator of this monstrosity, has seen a 24% jump in stock price and a 34% increase in stock value just in the last couple of days. Pokemon Go has reached the top of the Top Free and Top Grossing ranks on the Apple App Store since it first came out, and the Google Play Store says the app has been installed 10 million times on Android.

The media, especially, has been going to town on this explosion of use, as seen in the Time example above. TV, cable, print, online—it’s everywhere! The whole world has gone Pokemon crazy. And it’s going to grow crazier still, as the international rollout continues. Hollywood already has plans to make a Pokemon Go movie, for goodness’ sake!


Actually, I’m pretty glad this is happening now, but purely as a proof of concept—that the world can actually go apeshit over something as inconsequential (for now, anyway) as an AR game. Developers should keep the Pokemon Go phenomenon in mind when making their apps in the future.

Because Pokemon Go isn’t a game; it’s a technology, and it’s a technology in its infancy. We still have way far to go. Pokemon Go is an AR game, but our phones and tablets aren’t really AR devices. Wait till we actually get AR devices in our hands and the technology matures, and we’ll see how this goes.

We would do well to tread carefully as this technology continually develops, and brings us worse things to think about and consider as we enter the virtual world of Ready Player One.

I really hope this fad dies down as quickly as it caught on.

For our sake.



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