The rapid rise of Pokémon GO has brought plenty of benefits, fostering communities of fans and helping players explore and get exercise. There can be negatives, however, and not just in terms of absent-minded players being robbed of their phones.
There have been multiple reports of sensitive and private properties having a number of GO players arrive trying to catch assorted Pocket Monsters. This is partly due to the game utilising Google Maps to identify sites of public interest as Pokéstops, and in some cases this has caused issues. Press attention, for example, was given to a number of players arriving at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum when the game launched. According to LA Times, that site has already been removed as a Pokéstop.
Other sites have had unwelcome players, and it's one area that will be addressed in updates to the game. The Pokémon Company's consumer marketing director J.C. Smith has spoken of plans to make adjustments to satisfy players while also encouraging respect for sensitive sites or private property.
When something is really popular, we have to figure out the most respectful way to deal with it and make sure that everyone is playing safely and doing things in a respectful manner. It's only been two weeks since it launched, and there's been so much attention and so many people playing that it's tough to think of all the ways it could affect the world.
For us, we're making sure the play experience is done right. Initially, there was some server overload, which we've worked on. Now, we're looking at features in the game and how to fine-tune them so that it's appealing to the fans but also respectful of the private institutions that are affected by it.
As the GO craze drops away to more sustainable levels issues around sites will likely ease; in any case, it's welcome news that updates will seek a balance between player enjoyment and sensible play.