The quaint seaside town of Kijkduin, the Netherlands, is known throughout the entire country as a place of rest and tranquility away from the busy district of Scheveningen. This part of the Dutch west coast has long stretches of dunes and houses a ton of wildlife reservations not open to the public and enjoys being a protected part of the country because of it. The rise of Pokemon GO, however, chimed in the end of peace and quiet for Kijkduin.
Since the release of Pokemon GO, Kijkduin started to look less like this:
…and a little more like this:
This spot has become this popular, not because of the beautiful views, but because of the relatively high amount of PokeStops that can be found there in addition to the scores of Pokemon that are just ripe for the taking. Because the influx of people traveling to Kijkduin to catch the digital critters, the local government requested that Niantic “ban these small virtual animals in protected areas and in the streets from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am”. Since this request was submitted to Niantic back in August and has since gone without a reply, the city of The Hague sees no other option than take the developer of the popular app to court.
This isn’t the first time Niantic’s been asked to remove PokeStops and Pokemon from a specific place. Earlier this year the Washington DC Holocaust Museum requested that PokeStops and Pokemon be removed from the premises. The White House and the 9/11 Memorial also asked Niantic to remove hubs for the game. This also isn’t the first time Niantic’s been sued because of Pokemon GO. Earlier this year a couple in Detroit sued Niantic, Nintendo and The Pokemon Company for not removing PokeStops and Gyms from private property. They’ve also recently been the subject of numerous FTC complaints, over microtransactions and location based issues.
Whether the court case will influence the way the law views AR games remains to be seen but this writer will be following the case with great interest, partly because I live close to the city in question.
I went to this exact location slightly before the Pokemon Go craze started and it’s probably one of the quietest places you can visit in the Netherlands. While I do think the situation is really funny I also fully understand the need to protect our wildlife’s natural habitat. We are the wardens of the animals living in our countries and it’s our duty to protect them from harm. The demands made by The Hague are anything but unreasonable so I hope that this case will get them what they want.More About This Game