The incredible success of Pokemon GO [Free] turned everyone's attention to what augmented technology can add to gaming (despite Pokemon GO not doing a great job actually using AR). And as the recent WWDC Apple keynote demonstrated—as well as the iPhone 8 AR functionality rumors—Apple is very interested in making AR a bigger part of the iOS platform. However, as a recent lawsuit in Milwaukee shows, there might be obstacles in the way. Apparently, Milwaukee County recently moved to regulate all augmented reality games after Pokemon GO players wrecked one of the area's parks. This ordinance creates a permit system that will limit AR gameplay in taxpayer-funded parks.

In response, developer Candy Lab, which makes the AR game Texas Rope 'Em [], sued the county, and then Milwaukee County lawyers moved to ask for the dismissal of the lawsuit. You can read about the technicalities of the laws surrounding this case here, but what's important is that there are filings and counter-filings going on still, with a trial possible coming in spring 2018.

If the county succeeds in regulating AR use in public, taxpayer-funded spaces and other countries follow suit, AR-enabled games might be unexpectedly stunted, especially if counties start demanding fees for any AR events in public spaces. There are many ifs and buts in this story, of course, but it's a possibility. Hopefully once Apple becomes an even bigger player in AR, issues like these will be quickly resolved.

[via Inverse]

  • CarlRJ

    Said county needs to get a grip - if _people_ trample vegetation and whatnot in a park, cite and/or arrest _those people_ for breaking existing laws. They already have existing laws against people trashing parks, right? If they're just unhappy that people are hanging out in "taxpayer-funded" parks... well, aren't those game-playing people taxpayers as well?

    Saying "you can't cant run a certain app on your phone in a park without permission" is getting close to "you can't think a particular thought, or hum a particular tune in a park". Where does it end?

    If the makers of PokemonGO want to hold an _organized/promoted_ event in a particular public place, presumably they'll apply for the proper permits (they've done similar for Ingress many times, the events are called "Anomalies", and attract thousands of people to day-long organized events). If Pepsi (or, I don't know, the makers of Brawny Paper Towels, say) wanted to hold some sort of sponsored-organized event, they'd need to get permits too, but you can't just say, "hey, lots of the people in this park happen to be drinking Pepsi, therefore Pepsi needs to bow to our authority."

    Government and other powerful organizations have a long history of attacking new ideas/trends/tech because such things are... new. Remember, kids, Rock & Roll is the devil's music, and comic books will rot your brain and promote communism. "Person in position of power takes a stand to protect upstanding citizens against (insert new thing here)" is an old pattern, especially if they can gain points by passing laws to keep those upstanding citizens safe from dangerous immoral (insert new thing here). I halfway expect some congressperson to promote a law to make it illegal to kill someone using a fidget spinner (presumably because laws against murder somehow aren't enough). Smh.

  • dancj

    Funny thing is that the issues they experienced with Pokémon Go are nothing to do with it using AR (which pretty much everyone turns off) and everything to do with it being a location based game - so the law completely fails at what it attempts to achieve.

    • JamGela

      I was going to say the same. If Pokemon Go removes the AR then 10000 can still gather in the park. Luckily the lawmakers have no idea what is going on! 👍

    • Michal Hochmajer

      To be fair, making game, which uses unknown territory blindly is dumb. With damage done, these law steps are understable...and solves nothing, as you pointed out. Just typical political. 🙂

      What a great age! To see so many interesting things in motion.

  • Carter Dotson

    I am a SOVEREIGN CITIZEN and so you can't tell me what to do...MILWAUKEE

    • Michal Hochmajer

      Damn! I was thinking to this very point that you are UK citizen (aka. Imperial team).
      Why? Who knows. 🙂

  • Bunion

    I'll copy what I posted to Facebook

    What a ridiculous subject. Just because a few idiots that just so happen to be playing these games wrecked a park, the solution is.... to ban a completely irrelevant and harmless activity. With this logic, how about we ban all cutlery as a few maniacs get a hold of knives and end up stabbing people and while we're at it, lets ban roads because of the few morons that drink drive, speed and kill. Ridiculous!

    • diovivente

      Yeah, or attempt to ban gun ownership because a few bad guys shot people! Oh wait... that's EXACTLY what lots of people are advocating for.

      • Bunion

        Its quite a stretch to compare banning software to guns. My examples were to illustrate the silliness of banning otherwise innocent items or activities just because of a small percentage of people that misuse them. Guns are different because they nearly always have a high fatality rate although I feel this is completely digressing from the intended point..

  • Collin Longmire

    Sounds like government over reach and knee jerk reaction to me.
    Definitely not the way to solve this issue of vandalism in a park.

  • Hedron Engineer

    I can only say that I was quite pissed off when my train was delayed for about an hour because of morons walking on the tracks to catch a goddamn virtual pet.

    I actually don't think it's bad regulating safety and pleasurable experience for EVERYONE (which includes people who just want to enjoy sitting on a bench in the park). After all, ensuring safety and general quality of life really does appear to me to be a core business of mayors and council members.

    Software developers, much like any company, should feel a responsibility to put out a product that does not lead to excessive "bad things" and stupidity (note word "excessive" in that sentence). They clearly don't (case in point: it required several lawsuits to remove Pokémon from active train tracks (I.e. Every 15 min a train races past here at 140 kph/85 mph) in The Netherlands).

    The unwillingness of the software company to implement the most basic, common sense safety measures was baffling to me.