POKEMON GO

Written by Mahathir Ahamad

Pokémon Go is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game developed by Niantic for iOS, Android, and Apple Watch devices. The game is the result of a collaboration between Niantic and The Pokémon Company, and was initially released in selected countries in July 2016. In the game, players use a mobile device’s GPS capability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player. The game supports in-app purchases for additional in-game items.

The game’s extended launch began on July 6, 2016, with releases in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Due to server strain from high demand upon release, Niantic CEO John Hanke stated that the release in other regions was to be “paused until Niantic was comfortable” fixing the issues. European releases started on July 13, and the game became available to most of the continent over the following ten days. Although the game was proposed to be released in France on July 15, it was postponed until July 24 out of respect and due to safety concerns following a terrorist attack in Nice on July 14.

In South Korea, the game was not officially released as major restrictions on the use of online mapping data exist. However, due to a glitch, a small area around Sokcho in the northeastern part of the country was considered a part of Niantic’s North Korea mapping region, making the game fully playable in that area. Numerous people took advantage of the gap to play the game. Bus tickets from the capital city of Seoul sold out and people living within Sokcho shared information on free Wi-Fi areas to tourists. In mainland China, Google services are banned by the Great Firewall. Players of Pokémon Go in China bought Australian App Store IDs and used a GPS spoofing app to use Google services. Many Chinese people downloaded a clone app called City Spirit Go, which was released shortly after Pokémon Go’s beta test in Japan.

When launched July 6,  Pokémon Go proved from the start that it could be much more than a global pop culture craze for gamers. There’s more behind this game than searching Pokémon’s at your local landmarks, firing red Poke Balls, sprinkling stardust and capturing points on a smart phone. The real take-away from Pokémon Go is that it shows market transitions can come from anywhere; even a game meant for kids of all ages.

Days after the game’s launch in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, players shared images and tales on social media of dangerous encounters, such as Pokémon popping up near subway tracks. In O’Fallon, Mo., four teens waited at PokéStops in order to rob arriving players, police said. Law enforcement has warned people to be mindful while exploring. Looking at the scenario mention above, the writers have decided to pick The Star Online for their local news on Pokémon Go and Cable News Network (CNN) for their international news on Pokémon Go. Thus, we will able to see the evidence related to the coverage, issues and social implications among the society whom affected to this global craze.

The Star Online views: According to a news publish in the Star Online, citizen, Lum Choi Yan, 24, said she was shocked to see a man at her front door, pointing his mobile phone to the roof of her house, believe to be playing Pokémon Go. The guy said he was chasing after a ‘Pokémon’, which had flown over the roof from the playground nearby. This has created a serious safety issues as many people were already hooked and if not careful, the game could be a safety hazard and public nuisance as reported in several countries.  Pokémon Go players could easily be detected especially at crowded areas, while targeting place such as mosques and temples, high-rise buildings or secluded areas.

Another issues that infected societies due to Pokémon Go as reported by The Star Online was how it decreased moral value and competencies. For example, player would go to secluded places with a damaged signboard or behind a public toilet may be suddenly swarmed by people, all because of the game, and somehow ignored public and personal safety. People should not wander onto properties where they are not allowed. Another citizens, Tieu Chect Hou, 28, said a teenage girl, who was so engrossed hunting Pokémon, almost walked into him while he was having lunch at a restaurant in Pudu. The girl walking up and down with a mobile phone in hand and smiling by herself. She was so oblivious to her surroundings, bumping into people without apologizing.  He said since Pokémon Go was launched, many people had been acting strangely, gathering at certain spots to play with their phones and causing traffic jams.

Pokémon Go has led to some being fired. The game has proven to be a huge hit here, but it is game over for some who persistently played it during working hours. Six employers have dismissed workers for playing the popular location-based game while at work, reveals a survey by the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF). As it continues to “level up” on popularity, the game has spawned a culture of people walking around in search of cyber monsters in their homes, parks, workplaces, commercial areas and even places of worship. But the addictive, augmented reality game is worrying the MEF to that employees will not be giving their best at work.

Any issues can be used as the weapon in persuading the publics and automatically, enhance the user’s image and shaping the audiences opinion. The Star Online highlights few individual and organizations in giving their opinions, which sometimes can be seen as the strategies in gaining political influences. The Government should ban the release of Pokémon Go in Malaysia as it would only promote social ills among the youths, said Abdul Rani Kulup Abdullah, president of Pertubuhan Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia (MJMM). He add that the augmented reality game would also destroy the faith of Muslims, as it could lead to obsession and could be detrimental to children’s development as their minds would be filled with cartoons.

The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) also has urged all Muslims in the country to refrain from playing Pokémon Go. They does not allow Muslims to engage with the game based on a variety of factors including its harmful effects. This decision is in line with the view of law in other Islamic countries proving Pokémon Go game causing harm leading to incidents that claimed lives. The game also has significant negative impact on children and teenagers,” 

CNN views: There is actual measurable data now that suggests reckless Pokémon hunting really does distract drivers and pedestrians. The research, published Friday in JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzed tweets and news items to piece together a picture of Pokémon-related traffic incidents. The results showed that, within a 10-day span, there were 14 crashes reported to involve Pokémon Go. Even scarier, pedestrians and drivers distracted by the game sent more than 100,000 tweets during that time. The researchers reviewed 4,000 tweets between July 10 and 20 and decided whether the tweets showed driver distraction, pedestrian distraction, or other traffic-related Pokémon topics like safety warnings or even humorous tweets from passengers.

The foreign media has diverse opinions on the issue of Pokémon Go, where mostly they will highlights the guidance issues on players, especially on minors.  The most desirable Pokémon destinations are called Pokestops and Pokémon Gyms, and they are often found in public or community places such as parks and churches. Because of their popularity, this is where your child will most likely encounter other players, both children and adults. And when we talk to our children about being aware of their surroundings, they will keep an eye on trespassing private property. Police are reminding the public not to trespass, as some Pokémon Go players are wandering off paths and over fences.

Instead of reporting the negative impact upon this global craze, they might have uncover some potential outcomes in dealing with Pokémon Go issues. The game’s augmented-reality feature and method of rewarding players who go to Pokestops located at popular landmarks in their communities have led people to be more interactive than normal while playing video games. Lenore Koppelman is the mother of 6-year-old Ralphie, who has autism and hyperlexia, which is associated with verbal language difficulties. She has also found “Pokémon Go” useful in helping her son socialize with other kids. (‘Pokémon Go’) involves a finite set of interesting characters that is consistent, stable. Kids with autism often like things that are like this that are list-based or concrete or fact-based. They’re very good at learning about things and memorizing things, so not only is this a shared area of interest, it’s an area in which the kinds of strengths with autism can shine.

No one right now knows the staying power of Pokémon Go. It might be popular for a week, a month or a year.  Some people feel like its popularity is already on the decline. During the middle of July, no one could stop talking about Pokémon Go. It was the hottest trend around. Comparing to the international media and the local media, there’s a similar approach and perspective highlighted by the author which is mostly the negative impact towards Pokémon Go craze. This might be due to the consequences that arise among the societies which suddenly behave weirdly when they engaged with this applications. Also, due to this issues, national securities and the breach of private space is among the highest story reported in both news portal. This might be the reason why the editor or the journalist try to help and encouraged the government by publishing such issues in order to enhance control measures upon this phenomenon.

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