While Niantic was enjoying tremendous success following the launch of its most popular augmented reality game, Pokemon Go, Chinese officials were worried the title could pose serious public health risks, as well as political implications. Hence, the governments announced the game will not be available in the country until such risks are properly evaluated and ultimately addressed.
In the meantime, the game received a lot of praise for its ability to combat sedentary lifestyles by forcing the players to get out in the world, literally hunting Pokemon. However, Niantic’s augmented reality game was also the subject of controversy after authorities recorded multiple cases of injured people who were not paying attention to the traffic while running down the street for Pokemon and were hit by cars. On the other hand, other complained the characters were placed in rather questionable areas.
Having observed Niantic’s success, other Chinese companies started developing similar games that encourage physical activity via a location-based setup. However, the Chinese government officials said that those games, too, will have to pass the security test in order to hit the market.
The risks the Chinese government identified refer to transport, geographical information, and personal safety of the consumers, according to the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association.
The Chinese government officials feel “a high level of responsibility to national security and the safety of people’s lives and property”, reads the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association’s official statement.
At this point, Niantic has yet to comment on the alleged security threats associated with Pokemon Go. The Chinese officials have yet to determine whether the game is safe for the population, as well as for the country’s interests.
Nevertheless, the country officials’ concerns are to be understood since only a short time after its release, Pokemon Go claimed its first victim in the U.S. when a 20-year-old was fatally shot in a San Francisco park. Soon after, a 72-year-old hairdresser from Japan was struck and killed by a truck driver. Law enforcement officers that arrived on the scene arrested the driver after he admitted not paying attention to the road because he, too, was playing Pokemon Go at the time of the accident.
Image Source: Pixabay