A Year Later, American Parks Are Protecting Themselves Against Pokémon Go Problems

When Pokémon Go was in its prime last year, many of the game's more popular locations were parks. And some of those parks got trashed. Understandably, if also a little late, local governments are now taking steps to try and stop this happening again.

In Milwaukee, AP reports, one park in particular became a hotspot for players of the game, which "left county officials at a loss for how to deal with the sudden influx of players and the trash they left behind."

Now, nearly a year later, they have figured out a way, signing off on a proposal that requires the creators of augmented reality games to get a permit before including any areas within local parks.

There's also a bill currently pending with the Illinois Legislature which tackles the issue from the other direction. Brought about in response to "heavy foot-traffic last year at a suburban Chicago park with protected dunes", it would require the creators of AR games to remove spots from games if requested.

While it's easy to criticise these moves as months too late to make an impact, they're being implemented now as much for the AR games of the future as the past, in case another game blows up the way Pokémon Go did (and has a similar impact on protected areas, nature reserves, etc).


    Illinois' solution sounds easy to implement and entirely reasonable. Milwaukee's sounds like a nightmare to work around - basically a game developer needs to buy a permit for a price between $100 and $1000 to host "park events", that price depending on how many people you expect to attend said event. They can pursue legal action if you don't comply with the conditions of your permit. So you need to (a) be able to accurately predict how many people will play your app in that area and for how long, (b) spend the maximum amount possible to ensure that you're covered for everything, or (c) risk a lawsuit.

    I'm normally all for companies taking more responsibility, but in this instance I really have to agree with the county supervisor who voted against it. Here's his quote from the linked article:
    "If someone crashes their car while using (Google Maps) it's not Google Maps' responsibility to pay for the damages. That falls on the user. If a 'Pokemon Go' player litters or damages something in the parks, it should be the responsibility of the player, not the corporation to pay for damages."

    Given games fall under the First Amendment in the US, one might query whether the legislature would face a legal challenge over attempting to limit artistic expression without being able to justify it via security or IP Protection.

    Personally, I find it ridiculous that they are trying to keep the public out of public parks provided for by public funds, but that's just me.

    left county officials at a loss for how to deal with the sudden influx of players and the trash they left behind

    More bins? More "Please Don't Litter" signs? Give some poor bastard a job to pick up trash?

    You know how they are always making laws in America that turn out to be unenforceable or plain illegal? This is one of them.

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