waiting for the server to restart.
“I almost caught an Aerodactyl (a rare dragon-like Pokémon) half an hour ago, but the server went down. I hated my life a little bit when it happened,” he said, still trying to reload the game.
It’s not the first time the game’s design has been criticized as faulty. Shortly after its release on July 7, Pokémon GO was reported to be seeking full access to a user’s Google account, which raised concerns about privacy. The developers acknowledged the flaw on Tuesday, five days after the game’s release, and issued updates to ensure users’ information was protected.
Other safety concerns arose when the game went beyond the internet. Some people worried that players become less aware of their surroundings when they are immersed in the half-fantasy world the game creates.
“Many players are like zombies in the streets”, said Sandra Chen, 30, a Pokémon player in New York City. “They keep their heads down, starring at the screen in case a Pokémon pops up.”
Kyrie Tompkins, a Maine web designer, twisted her ankle trying to catch a Pokémon. “My ankle still hurts and I missed the Jigglypuff (a small pink Pokémon),” she tweeted on July 7.
Emergency room trip
Reddit user “Amalthea” said that “Pokémon GO put me in the ER” on July 7.
“Not even 30 minutes after the release last night, I slipped and fell down a ditch. Fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in my foot, six to eight weeks for recovery,” said “Amalthea”.
A police station in San Francisco issued Pokémon GO safety tips to remind players of potential dangers, asking players to obey traffic laws, avoid running into obstacles and stop riding bikes or skateboards while playing the game.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority sent a tweet on Monday alerting players to not get close to train tracks when playing Pokémon GO in subway stations.
“It says in the beginning of the game, ‘stay aware of your surroundings’,” said Reyes. “I always tell myself the road is not where the Pokémon are going to appear. They are going to be right down the sidewalk, so I either catch them before going across the road, or wait until I get across first.”
Despite the drawbacks, Pokémon GO players and the game’s developers are positive about its future and also the AR game market.
“This is the most popular AR game that ever existed. We are definitely going to see a lot of clones,” said Garrahan.
Judy Zhu and Nancy Kong in New York contributed to this story.