When Pokemon Go [Free] hit the App Store last year, it was painfully obvious that Niantic had no clue how huge the game would become. For businesses who were lucky enough to also be Pokestops, the game brought a massive influx of customers, even leading Yelp to categorize them for easy searching. In the midst of Poke-mania, I too found myself posting up at bars I've never been to before and tossing a lure up just because I could drink some beers and play Pokemon at the same time. While this might have been great for businesses, it turns out the phenomenon wasn't so great for public spaces and parks.

Impromptu meetups were held across the country as (in some cases) thousands of people congregated to play the game. I went to one of these events in Chicago and it was obviously both overwhelming and surprising for the few people cleaning up the park that day as well as the park security officials. Just imagine just being the guy who empties the trash cans on Saturdays and showing up to this:

Well, Milwaukee County has had it up to here with all these dang kids and their gosh darn pokey-mans. Moving forward, permits will be required to use the parks landmarks for in-game things like Pokestops and similar. It sets an interesting precedent for these sorts of things moving forward as Pokemon Go (and other GPS games) effectively build a game world out of things they have no claim to. They use many public landmarks for sure, but also many private businesses that they really have no claim to. While many businesses saw a uptick in business for having a Pokestop nearby, there was also loads of problems.

Pokemon Go and other GPS-based games rely on these massive databases of places and things they can be tied to, and adding an extra layer of complication on top of dealing with rules and regulations of various municipalities is going to make both building and maintaining games like these in the future very difficult.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via PocketGamer.biz]

  • http://aggromagnetgames.com/ Aggro Magnet Games

    It'll be fascinating to see how the law around this kind of thing evolves.

  • chuckfinley

    As someone who lives near these parks and had a great time visiting them over the summer to try and "catch 'em all," the crowds I saw were friendly, nondestructive and amazingly varied. Business folks in their suits, grandparents and parents with their kids, teens and millennials.

    Oh- and very multi ethnic. Which I suspect is really the issue driving the complaint. The neighborhood around Lake Park is offensively expensive and disproportionately white. Much of the public outcry came from whiny rich people who didn't want anyone that didn't look like them in their precious parks. Despite the fact that the parks are public.

    While I was catching Pokemon there, I would occasionally question Milwaukee's label as the most segregated city in America. Thanks to the neighbors of the Lake Park area, I am reminded that the segregation is being driven by some pathetic 1%ers.

  • http://www.twitter.com/BB8orR2D2 David

    So instead of using the "parks landmarks" Niantic can just make up new Pokestops named things like "Clickie Zoo" and "Dandy Dungeon" that people can visit?

  • DeNappa

    So would they circumvent these attempted regulations of they dropped the landmarks and kept the coordinates?

  • Baron Cappuccino

    My coffee shop wasn't listed as a poke stop or gym, and I would've loved it. I bet for every landmark that isn't cool being in game, there's another like mine. An online form for opting out or opting in might work after the default game is released.

    • planetmidgar

      My bar didn't mind it much (we were a Pokéstop), however we did have an influx of people, or kids, that would come in, disrupt some people, and not buy anything at all.. I can see why some business owners can see it as a problem. We, largely, we're okay with it though. The bar actually set up an event for it with its own specialty cocktail to go along with it.

  • Heinz da Baron Krauss von Espy

    would love to see niantic team up with some hunting grounds. helps thin out the zombies, so to speak.

  • herbertclan

    I would say Niantic should just drop all the parks in any town or county that requires permits for families to go and have fun with their kids. It has calmed down 10 fold since the game first came out. Nash park in Raleigh NC was standing room only with people from every walk of life their when the game first came out. I went there a few weeks ago and the park was pretty empty. Most of the people there did not have their phones out, but some of us did. But I agree that they should have a website set up to allow businesses to opt in or out. To opt in, just snap a picture of your business and select use current location and but put in the que to become a new stop or gym. A cemetery up the street had over 20 stops and two gyms in it when the game first came out. A security guard was hired after a few weeks to keep people from playing the game. Now all the stops and gyms are gone. So they do have the means to shut off unwanted spots.