Pokemon Go Highly Popular, But Running Into Controversy

Photo from Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go has truly reached incredible highs since its launch Thursday last week. As of Friday, the new Nintendo game is said to have been installed more times than dating app Tinder, and has been reportedly installed on 5.16% of all Android phones in the United States.

A modern take on the classic Pokemon video game, Pokemon Go makes use of augmented reality as players use GPS and a real-world map to find and capture Pokemon in their neighborhoods. Since its release, there have been reports of people walking around more and taking to the outdoors to find the creatures.

While parks, malls and landmarks seem to be popular places for Pokemon hunting and Poke Stops, the game seems to have courted controversy in some of its more unusual location choices. For example, The Washington Post reported that the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. has been designated a Poke Stop on the game, which does not sit well with museum officials, who are now trying to get the museum excluded from Pokemon Go.

Some are also unhappy that Arlington National Cemetery has seen a number of players visiting it to search for Pokemon in the famed resting place for American veterans. Arlington Cemetery tweeted, “We do not consider playing ‘Pokemon Go’ to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC. We ask all visitors to refrain from such activity.”

Elsewhere, reported gaming at landmarks such as the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland has been met with outrage. New York magazine reported that a Pokemon Go character was captured at one of history’s most tragic sites, but as the game has not yet been released in Europe, the claim remains unsubstantiated.

Pokemon Go has seen an average user time of 43 minutes and 23 seconds per day, Similar Web estimates, leaving popular apps Instagram and Snapchat behind. If its popularity continues, it might even unseat Twitter, analysts say.

The game has created a social media storm as well, with magazine Cosmopolitan reporting that some users have taken to meeting up and going on dates. Users have been sharing their finds and updates from all over, including some dubious places.

It doesn’t stop there. In Missouri, police arrested teenagers who were using the game to lure users to locations and rob them. Popular Science has also reported that privacy and security concerns have been raised following a request from the game to allow full access to players’ Google accounts. Niantic, the developer behind Pokemon Go, addressed this by stating that the request was a bug on the iOS version, which will be fixed, and was not used to look at any information apart from email addresses and user IDs.

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