Trainers Cause Trouble Playing Pokemon GO at Memorials
Alexander Neil / 3 years ago
There’s no denying that Pokemon GO is taking the world by storm (even if it isn’t yet released worldwide), sending Nintendo’s profits soaring and bringing generations of fans together out into the world. Unfortunately, it’s not all positive, with reports covering all manner of situations from a player finding a corpse to people using the game to lure in targets for their muggings. The throngs of Pokemon GO trainers have recently been causing an upset amongst memorial sites such as the 9/11 Memorial in New York as well as the US Holocaust Museum, and Arlington National Cemetery both in Washington DC.
The sites recently published Tweets regarding the influx of visitors to their sites, with the Holocaust Museum asking people to be “respectful of our role as a memorial”, while the Cemetary being considerably more abrupt, declaring that playing Pokemon GO at the memorial is not “appropriate decorum” and that people should refrain from doing so. Other memorial sites worldwide, even in locations where the game is yet to be officially released, are already releasing statements regarding the game, with Pawel Sawicki, a spokesperson for Auschwitz Memorial sending an email to the New York Times saying that “allowing such games to be active on the site of Auschwitz Memorial is disrespectful to the memory of the victims of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp on many levels.”
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.
— Arlington Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) July 12, 2016
We welcome & encourage visitors to use technology to engage w/our exhibitions & programs while being respectful of our role as a memorial.
— US Holocaust Museum (@HolocaustMuseum) July 12, 2016
For Niantic and The Pokemon Company, this is a difficult problem to tackle, which is only likely to grow as the game is officially released around the world. In a statement to The Verge, the companies urged users to report any locations they believed to be inappropriate online:
Pokéstops and Gyms in Pokémon Go are found at publicly accessible places such as historical markers, public art installations, museums and monuments. If you want to report inappropriate locations or content, please submit a ticket on the Pokémon Go Support website… We will take relevant steps at that point based on the nature of the inquiry.
Exactly what these steps will be is unclear, as well as the level of investigation that will go into assessing the site once it is reported. It can be expected that Pokestops and gyms that have been sited at memorials and similar locations will be removed when reported, but until the ability to report locations from within the game is added it is likely that many would simply forget to report locations they find.
With the rate that Pokemon GO is expanding, it is unlikely that this problem will go away anytime soon, but should players really need to be forced by Niantic to stop visiting such somber locations simply to catch them all and instead exercise their own judgement on what is appropriate while playing the game?