Pokemon Go. Away. Please.

Tags: , ,

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.

About the Author

Clay Adams
email iconClay.Adams@vch.ca  

Clay Adams is vice president of Communications and Public Affairs and has extensive experience in strategic communications and planning, media relations, issues management and stakeholder communications in Australia and Canada. Clay writes on communication related topics with a wry humorous style and has an interest in discussion about how we want to be understood by others. View all the posts by Clay.

A Beginners Guide to Disqus

Disqus is a great platform for adding comments to blogs and articles. For the most part it's straightforward and easy to use, but at first the amount of options can be daunting and intimidating. Luckily for us, once past the initial process, commenting is really made easy.

This guide is to help users understand the user interface of Disqus in order to use it in the most effective way for their needs.

Note: You can write the comment at any time during the process, before, after, or during.

  • 1. Your first click:


  • 2. Choose your account, or dont:


  • 2. a) Facebook example:


  • 2. b) Guest example:



  • 3. Submit your post:



  • 4. You're done, that's it!

    All comments are moderated, so if your comment doesn't appear right away it's because it is awaiting moderation from administrators.

9 comments on “Pokemon Go. Away. Please.

  • Jen says:

    I was at a waterfront park in Edmonds WA this weekend, having a romantic view of the sunset and the beautiful night sky (the stars were so bright!). It was very amusing to watch 3+ dozen (we actually stopped counting) people walk about 2 feet from our bench, abruptly stop–stunned–then turn around and walk away. This went on for hours.

    The great part – people were outside, moving around getting exercise. The sad parts – no one was looking at the incredible view (thank goodness they weren’t blocking mine!), nor were they engaging with anyone who wasn’t also looking for Pokemon 🙁

  • Pokemon go can stay says:

    You don’t blame driving or skiing for bad drivers and skiiers, you blame the person behind the wheel.

    I personally have no issue with pokestops being outside (or in) hospitals/memorials/other sensitive areas. It can be a way for family’s or even patients to have a space to heal and relax during difficult times. Even for staff to sit outside somewhere like BCCA on break after seeing enough sad situations can easily be good self-care.

    It’s all about perspective.

  • Clay Adams says:

    As an update to this, the issue of inappropriate Pokemon stops has gained enough attention for the game creators to take action.

    http://www.vancouversun.com/business/pokemon+creators+working+respectful+reality/12091860/story.html

  • Pokemon Go away! says:

    Even before this Pokemon Go craze started I had noticed many staff usuing their cell phones on work time. In the elevator, going to the washroom, on route to various departments, pushing clients in wheelchairs!!!!! Wow the stories I could tell. Combine this with staff dicussing patients in public areas or within earshot of others on a phone is not appropriate either. Considering that there is a mandate for VCH staff to follow while wearing their ID and on work time, they should be fully aware that acting professionally is the basis of the care expected on a VCH site. No one should be carrying their personal cell during work hours period.

  • Shawn Davidson says:

    Actually this is not an offering from Nintendo, a common mistake. Niantic, a spinoff from Google, is the creator of the game. Nintendo is an investor in Niantic and hopes to capitalize on the game by creating partner devices.

    I too have noticed groups of 20somethings converging outside my windows and loudly discussing the game and where they should go next.

    • Clay Adams says:

      You are absolutely correct Shawn. I simply focused on Nintendo as the company most commonly linked to Pokemon and the holder of the license. The business venture is a shared one. Either way, some folks are making a lot of money off this. Others, slightly less money. Me? Not a cent.

  • Ritu Guglani says:

    Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing. As I write this, I see people in my backyard- I believe my backyard is a Pokemon gym!

    • Clay Adams says:

      Fascinating Ritu. Am hoping you are coping okay with having people wander through your backyard in search of invisible creatures. My daughter was yelled at over the weekend for searching for Pokemon in a public lane, well away from personal property, by someone clearly unhappy with folks walking the streets. So much for that sense of community! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      • celia says:

        Kid’s need to be careful as well. If your attention is focused on the game, you cannot be as aware as you should be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated.

Email addresses will not be made public.

You may comment anonymously, but a valid VCH email address is required to verify that you are an employee.

Only comments attributed to a valid VCH.ca or providencehealth.bc.ca email address will be published.

Quality Safety & Patient Care.

This is the place for discussion, debate and collaboration on issues and ideas that advance engagement with VCH’s strategic True North goals and objectives. It is not just for executives, but the tone of this stream is tailored to those serving in a leadership role or those who have interest in the “why” behind organizational priorities.

Recognizing Excellence & Success

This is the place for discussion, debate and collaboration on issues and ideas that advance engagement with VCH’s strategic True North goals and objectives. It is not just for executives, but the tone of this stream is tailored to those serving in a leadership role or those who have interest in the “why” behind organizational priorities.

Photos & Fun

This is the place for discussion, debate and collaboration on issues and ideas that advance engagement with VCH’s strategic True North goals and objectives. It is not just for executives, but the tone of this stream is tailored to those serving in a leadership role or those who have interest in the “why” behind organizational priorities.