Clay Adams | July 21st, 2016
So, once again, the world has gone crazy. Mass gatherings. Frenzied activity. Mayhem as people run, shout and point in all directions. It makes no sense and even less when you consider why they are there.
No, it’s not the Republican Convention. It’s Pokémon Go.
The free-to-play mobile reality game is the latest offering by Nintendo to take the world by storm. If you don’t know what Pokémon Go is, you have either been living in a cave for the past month or been at the Republican Convention. Either way, you have been away from the real world.
The game uses GPS technology to place virtual creatures, the aforementioned Pokémon, in actual locations and to capture these invisible creatures at PokéStops. When you play it, you see where you are. Real streets and real locations but with strange, invisible creatures appearing and calling you without actually being there. It’s like Google Maps on meth.
Now anything that gets people – and I’m not just talking kids and couch-loving teens here – off their butts and out into the real world is a plus. As many as 21 million people go Pokémon hunting daily, and many of them are adults. According to AppInstitute.com within the next 15 minutes Pokémon Go will have been downloaded almost 73,000 times, earning developer Nintendo over $163,000.
That’s over seven million downloads and $15.65 million in revenue per day. For that you could buy 10 McLaren P1s; a Learjet 70; or a modest 3,000 Sqft home in Kitsilano. And that’s only for one day. Imagine the other 364.
The game requires walking about, meeting other people and even going places the player would never have imagined visiting such as art galleries (you know, the places with really cool paintings), museums (the places with really cool old stuff), and parks (places with really old, well, nature).
So is Pokémon Go harmless? Some have raised concerns about privacy while others have been engaging in risky behaviours, leading Japan to issue safety guidelines for users. Now why people need to be reminded that crashing into walls, dodging traffic or even walking on commuter rail tracks is dangerous astounds me but we are an odd species. One Toronto player even mocked his own behaviour with a “Pokémon Problems” video – and was slammed for doing the very things he warns others not to do. Yes, it seems we really are losing our sense of humor.
Of course, all of this Pokémon Go stuff has implications for health care. On the plus side, maybe getting some folks off their butts and walking around might actually improve health and keep people out of EDs. On the other hand, game playing injuries might negate that.
We are also seeing inappropriate locations being used as PokéStops. Among those are hospitals. Pokémon Go lures have been found in a Mission hospice, Sick Kids in Toronto (which told players to go away) and even – believe it or not – VGH. It seems there is a Pokémon within the walls of the hospital. Not outside. Inside.
I’m not going to say where, although I’m sure players can figure it out. But I will point out it is not somewhere a person would wish to be, nor would we openly encourage people to that area – either as a patient or visitor. And no, it’s not the morgue.
If you want to hunt Pokémon or whatever fantasy turns your crank, go for it. You can even find locations to do so online. Just stay out of our buildings and keep away from places you shouldn’t be.
Remember. It’s a game people. Just a game. Those working and being cared for inside our facilities aren’t there for the fun of it. Respect that. Please.