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Rant: Tenuous stories about Pokémon Go are getting ridiculous

“FATAL pile up in NYC caused by XTREME Pokémon Go use on Fifth Avenue…”

“62 Londoners turn to heroin after early Pokémon Go high proves too hard to match…”

“New religious cult emerges to enslave brainwashed Pokémon Go players whose minds have melted to toffee…”

These are spoofs, of course, but only just. Few mainstream newspapers have resisted the lure of some Pokémon Go related guff. And if sensational and shocking words like PAEDOPHILE can be chucked into the mix all the better.

The Daily Mail was absolutely guaranteed to run one of its standard corkers this week – and this headline is far shoutier than anything I could have invented:

“Pokémon Go is 'a gateway for paedophiles': NSPCC urges makers NOT to release it in Britain unless they can guarantee it can't be used by sexual predators to lure children,” it screamed.

As the editor of a tech publication I have been inundated with tenuous stories, pointless studies and bland offers of “expert commentary”. Not all of them have been complete nonsense – some of the security research has been very valid – but there has been a heavy case of shoehorning in action across the board.

Because honestly there isn’t all that much to say. If you’re really interested in Pokémon Go then visit the websites that cover the minutiae of the game. But if you’re not – this isn’t some vast moral issue. Mankind isn’t doomed – it is just mildly interesting that so many people want to play. And this, of course, brings up challenges of its own. As my colleague amusingly pointed out, that sheer level of interaction is basically a DDoS attack.  

So while I must admit I will be curious to see what the popularity of this game does for Augmented Reality, which up till now has been a bit stuck behind its more exciting cousin, Virtual Reality. It does look like I’m going to have to put up with an awful lot of fake news and PR spam before then… and frankly, that is already getting dull.


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