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:
— TouchArcade (@toucharcade) July 17, 2016
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.