Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pokémon Go, mobile game that spurs exercise, is accused of being biased against rural users

Still from Pokemon Go
The creators of the mobile video game, Pokémon Go, have a big hit on their hands but are being accused of snubbing rural areas. The game, which was released on Thursday, "lets you battle for Gyms, collect Poke Balls, and catch the pocket monsters themselves. However, if you don't live in a city, it could prove difficult to have much fun with it at all," Mat Paget reports for GameSpot, which provides news and reviews for video games.

However, users in small towns are finding it difficult to find Gyms and Poke Balls. The main reason is that the game is sourced from another game called Ingress, in which players capture portals from culturally significant places, such as public art, monuments and landmarks, which are more widely found in urban areas. As part of the game players travel to these locations, thus, getting exercise, whether they realize it or not.

Difficulties playing the game in rural areas led to a Facebook page, then to a petition, which states: "Without the ability to submit new requests for landmarks, players in geographically isolated regions or even places where no one HAPPENED to play Ingress have a limited or essentially nonexistent Pokémon Go experience... the point of the game is to get people to exercise, meet people, explore, etc. If having low-impact landmarks designated as Pokéstops is something the developers want to avoid, so be it."

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