July 20, 2016: It is official, Pokémon Go is a world-wide phenomenon. Within 24 hours of its release the game topped the United States App Store’s “Top Grossing” and “Free” charts. In less than one week after the game’s release it also eclipsed the average daily users of popular apps like Snapchat, Tinder, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Millions of people across the world are downloading and playing the game and it still has not been made available in many countries. The overwhelming response to the game is responsible for server crashes and severe data drains where the game frequently crashes, but this still has not deterred people from downloading and playing.
So what is Pokémon Go anyway? Technically, it is a “free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game”. What does that mean? Basically, it means the game utilizes your cell phone’s GPS and camera to allow players to capture, battle and train virtual Pokémon which resemble cartoon characters while traveling around the real world. Certain locations and landmarks are established as “Pokestops” where players can collect in game items while other locations are established as “Gyms” where players can battle against each other’s Pokémon. If you see swarms of people staring at their phones at certain locations, it’s a good guess that you have found a “Pokestop” or “Gym”.
The game has been praised because it requires players to get outside and walk around, but it has also received criticism, especially considering its correlation to distracted driving. Texting, talking and using other features of cell phones while driving is already a leading cause of car accidents, but the mania around Pokémon Go is attributing to this number being on the rise. This is because playing the game while driving your vehicle “cheats” the game’s requirement that you walk around to play, enabling a player to cover more area and visit more “Pokestops” and “Gyms” much more quickly.
Diversified wants to give a friendly reminder that no game or text message is worth causing a deadly car accident so players should play the game as intended and to safely try to capture virtual Pokémon safely while the walk around and explore outside.