At this point, even people who don’t play the game are familiar with the mechanics of Pokemon GO. Certain locations have PokeStops or Gyms which players will frequently stop it. On the one hand, many small businesses are loving the influx of foot traffic the Stops generate. In Japan, Niantic has started a new Sponsored Locations initiative, opening PokeStops at McDonalds, similar to ones they’ve done with their last game, Ingress. Some sites are not as keen on the sudden wave of young Pokemon trainers, particularly more hallowed grounds. Shortly after release, many players noted that PokeStops were available in places such as the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and Arlington National Cemetery. Local cemeteries and memorials often have PokeStops as well. The people running these places aren’t fond of people visiting only to play Pokemon GO, Holocaust Museum officials saying that playing the game at the site was “disrespectful”.
The Pokemon Company addressed some of these issues in an interview with Associated Press. Marketing director J.C. Smith says they are working on trying to make Pokemon GO better fit into the real world. Part of this includes allowing officials and owners to remove PokeStops from their businesses, memorial sites, or private property. Smith says with the unforeseen popularity of the game, they’ve had to work quickly to make changes to keep players safe and aiming them towards respectful actions, but that it’s difficult to project what could go wrong, saying “it’s tough to think of all the ways it could affect the world”.
Pokemon GO developers have already removed PokeStops at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and other sites such as Arlington have already applied to have their PokeStops removed as well. Removals are done manually by Niantic, so it may take time before they take effect. Locations can apply for removal on Niantic’s site. All hallowed sites typically remind players to be respectful and preferably, to go search for Pokemon elsewhere.
Smith also talked briefly about the future of Pokemon as a whole, saying Pokemon GO will not have any impact on future Pokemon titles, such as the planned live action films or the anticipated Pokemon Sun and Moon. Smith said, “We don’t need to directly tie anything to ‘Go’ for it to benefit our fans or the brand as a whole.” Pokemon GO players should remember to be respectful to the areas they are searching in, particularly if they are considered sacred or sensitive, particularly memorials and cemeteries, and to respect trespassing laws.More About This Game