The virtual world of 'Pokémon Go' is already reshaping the real one

Posted: 9:31 AM, Jul 14, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-14 10:31:20-04

septic field . The  Westboro Baptist Church Ground zero . Why is  "Pokémon Go"  sending people to look for Pokémon in these places?

It all has to do with game developer Niantic's first  alternate reality game : Ingress, which launched in 2012. This game also asked people to take their smartphones to real-world locations as part of a fictional global cyberwar.

"Pokémon Go" seems to be  largely drawing on  the location data collected from Ingress players. But the game's nostalgia-fueled explosion in popularity means that data is having a much greater effect on the real world — for better and for worse.

It's  pretty easy  to find stories of "Pokémon Go" sending flocks of aspiring trainers to places where they really shouldn't be trying to catch Pokémon — Niantic already  lets people  flag bizarre, inappropriate or dangerous Pokémon hotspots.

But the additional foot traffic has also  been a boon  to plenty of  small businesses  and other enterprises. And "convenient to PokéStop" has already started popping up as a  selling point  on some real estate ads.

The New York Times  reports Niantic plans to take full advantage of its ability to flood any location on Earth with a horde of Pokéfans; the company's apparently planning to let businesses pay to become PokéStops.

This video includes images from  George Hodan thewellman  and  Americasroof / CC BY SA 3.0  and clips from  IGN . Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

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