Pokemon Go's unintended consequences

Pokémon Go developer collects gamers' data
Pokémon Go developer collects gamers' data

Some unexpected things are happening to Pokemon Go players who are out looking to catch the game's cartoon creatures: They are getting sore legs, spending more time outdoors and even finding real wildlife.

The already immensely popular augmented reality game has coincided with a sudden and steep rise in Nintendo stock, and legions of players are venturing outdoors looking for cartoon creatures, which pop up superimposed onto camera images of the player's surroundings.

This has produced all sorts of unintended effects. Some local public safety agencies have warned players against venturing into unsafe areas, and against playing the game while driving. Reports have surfaced of a group of armed robbers exploiting the app to lure victims.

But other consequences have been far less worrisome, and in some cases, even rather positive.

More than a few users have reported getting sore legs from all of the walking around.

sore legs

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Some have said the app has been great at getting them out of bed and out of the house.


One pair even jumped into a kayak and paddled out to a game location.


Because the game turns public places and landmarks into playing areas, players have been hanging out in parks, churches and public libraries.

One librarian in Indiana went onto social media to draw players toward the book stacks, according to The Wall Street Journal.

"I was thinking it might be a great way to draw some new patrons in," librarian Jess Frederick told the paper. "I've seen some new faces for sure that I haven't seen before."

A few wildlife scientists also found a way to ride the wave.

Morgan Jackson, a graduate student at the University of Guelph in Canada, tweeted, "I have no idea if it will work, but for anyone willing to help #PokemonGO players engage with #NatHist, I'll be using #PokeBlitz. Join in!"


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David Steen, an assistant research professor of wildlife ecology at Auburn University, joined in the #PokeBlitz hashtag on Twitter to encourage people to tweet pictures of actual wildlife they find while out playing the game, promising to try to identify any unknown species.

Steen Tweet

So far the hashtag has had a few takers.

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Others are pitching in.


Steen is even offering a little encouragement to people who seem slightly freaked out by finding real snakes in place of fantastic ones.


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