One fine morning, you wake up and find the whole world going bonkers about this new smartphone game. And before you could google what it’s all about, you see your friends showing off the Pokemon they caught from their living room or the nearby bush on Facebook. This is how the Pokemon Go struck most people. If you were unlucky enough to have your house tagged as a Pokestop or a Gym, you would also be seeing random strangers running about your compound with their phones, trying to catch ‘em all.
Here is how the game works
If you haven’t tried it yet, Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game that uses the GPS of your phone to detect your location and make Pokemon appear in places nearby you (on the screen) and lets you catch them by traveling to where they are on the map. Pokestops are places where the Pokemon appear and Gyms are where you take your Pokemon to fight and compete with other players. The types of Pokemon that would appear depends on the time of the day and the area you are in. For example, water based Pokemon appear near fountains and other places where there is water. It feels like the developers of the game actually visited your town to make it this perfect.
This is also what makes the game more immersive and compelling to the players – A world around them filled with cuddly virtual creatures to be collected. Pokemon Go encourages players to travel and explore new places, because that’s the only way to play this game. This blend of a game interacting with the real world is called augmented reality. It’s as if they built this game on top of Google maps. While the game is really fun to play, here are some reasons to avoid the it, at least for now:
1. Malware infections
When something becomes extremely popular, it automatically attracts the attention of hackers. Pokemon Go is not officially available in all countries around the world yet. But, this isn’t stopping people from downloading the game from untrusted sources on the internet and playing it. There is no better situation for hackers to spread malware through the game and infect millions of devices. Several experts have warned against downloading the Pokemon Go APK files from internet since they could be altered to include malware. The infected game could have the potential to steal sensitive information from your device or even let someone take complete control over it.
2. Threat to privacy
Pokemon Go is a game that has unusually high access demands. It gets access to your camera and GPS apart from the regular ones, which is uncommon for a typical smartphone game. It was also found that the game gets complete access to the Google accounts of many iPhone users. Which means the company could actually read your emails and send mails on your behalf: something that is a big NO. While Niantic has promised that they have fixed this issue soon after, there is always a level of privacy risk with an app that has too much control over your device.
3. It uses truckloads of data
Although the game sticks to WiFi when it’s available like most apps out there, you can’t expect to have WiFi while travelling and exploring places. This could leave you with the only option of using mobile data, which is expensive and not that great when it comes to speed. Pokemon Go not just uses data; it actually consumes too much of data during the gameplay. If you are on a limited data plan, you might want to rethink about catching them all.
4. It drains your smartphone battery
While the game is addictive and immersive, it doesn’t go easy on your phone’s battery. Being the resource hungry game that it is, it can easily drain your phone’s battery empty with its combined use of GPS, camera and the internet. This again defies the sole purpose of this game which is to travel around. You might have to carry a battery pack if you are serious about playing Pokemon Go.
5. The real physical danger
Although the game has been super effective in getting people out of their houses, walking and exploring new places, it is not without its own set of problems. Many people have had very bad experiences playing the game. Given the augmented reality experience it provides, it is easy to lose your sense of reality and get into traffic accidents if you aren’t very careful. Many people have crashed their cars while driving around playing it and some others got hit by cars. Three women playing the game found a dead body in a park while on the hunt for Pokemon. There have been numerous reports of players facing risks like robbery, assault and accidents while playing Pokemon Go. It’s better to consider the risks before setting out on the hunt for Pokemon.
Apart from the above mentioned issues, the game is actually fun to play and it could even be the missing piece in your daily morning walk. We cannot help but notice how this game is related to big data, which is our area of expertise. In fact, the success of Pokemon Go lies in its brilliant gamification of big data. Without the use of mapping data and turning it into an AR game, this could have been just another Pokemon game that wouldn’t have mattered to the average smartphone user. If you are determined to give the game a try, remember to stay safe and happy hunting. If you are curious, here is why PokemonGo became a viral hit.
Stay tuned for our next article on the common web scraping myths.
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