With more than 75 million downloads, the number one selling app in the Apple store, has bought with it a unique set of risks. Pokémon Go is the international craze that has increased stock prices and seen random locations become meeting places for hundreds of trainers (this is what you are called when you play Pokémon and you must ‘catch them all’). Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game where players capture "pocket monsters" using a GPS map and their smartphone camera, giving the illusion they're snagging these creatures in the real world. Players are walking, driving or riding to search for the ultimate monsters, watching their screen to confirm their location, potentially stepping into traffic, driving into objects or wandering into dangerous locations, all in the pursuit of their next catch.
Law enforcement agencies across the world have issued warnings and in some areas banned the game due to the potential risk. Melbourne freeways recently displayed signage at specific locations relevant to the game warning drivers “Don’t Drive and Pokémon”, being caught doing so attracts four demerit points and a $466.00 fine.
The games creators have responded to concerns, with the latest game update including warnings that update and change every time the user plays the game, such as "Do not play Pokémon Go while driving," and "Do not enter dangerous areas while playing Pokémon Go."
This game, the most popular we have seen to date for the smart phone, has people engrossed in their new reality and opportunity for the venues, festivals and events to have the monsters at their locations which may attract more patrons, but with that opportunity comes the risk for users who lack situational awareness of their real world risks.