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Armed muggers use Pokémon Go to find victims
Posted by: Fox News ()
Date: July 10, 2016 06:53PM



Pokémon Go's Wednesday launch on iOS and Android has proven a rousing success for franchise creator Nintendo and app developer Niantic, with the app rocketing (Team Rocketing?) up every major download and top-grossing chart. With arguably the biggest augmented-reality gaming audience ever in the West, the game is attracting a lot of attention, including good stock-related news for Nintendo—but it has also already proven ripe for exploitation of its players.

In particular, one major social aspect of the game—its "beacon" function—has already been taken advantage of in the city of O'Fallon, Missouri. That city's police department made a statement on Sunday morning confirming that a group of four armed men had used the app to lure victims to a specific place, at which point they mugged the unknowing Pokémon Go players.

The statement mentioned similar robberies taking place in neighboring St. Louis and St. Charles counties. A Gizmodo report received a statement from O'Fallon's police department, stating that "about eight or nine people" were targeted by these muggings in all.

Pokémon Go requires that its players walk to a nearly exact point in the real world—whose required distance can vary based on your smartphone and its GPS signal—to interact with its major systems, which include battle-loaded Gyms and item-granting Pokéstops. Additionally, players can use items, either found in the game or purchased with real-world money, to sweeten a Pokéstop so that it attracts more collectible (and lucrative) Pokémon monsters. O'Fallon's police department went so far as to clarify that this very thing happened in the case of these reported muggings: "You can add a beacon to a Pokéstop to lure more players. Apparently [the muggers] were using the app to locate people standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in."

The statement also included a warning: "If you use this app (or other similar type apps) or have children that do, we ask you to please use caution when alerting strangers of your future location."

Niantic, the app developers behind Pokémon Go, has attracted negative attention for its precise-GPS requirements in the past, as opposed to its apps allowing players to simply be near a real-life location in the game. In particular, its warring-faction game Ingress was criticized by US military representatives in 2014 since it sometimes required players to drive up to restricted military buildings and bases to claim that game's territories.

But with Pokémon Go's popularity already surging past Ingress's peak, we can only imagine seeing more negative stories about a video game's use of real-life locations—especially one with such a "kid-friendly" franchise as Pokémon involved. (For example, on Sunday, The Independent reported on issues with loitering that the app has already attracted for some homeowners.) Niantic has not yet responded to Ars Technica's questions about whether its location-requirement system might be altered as a result of recent negative stories. We will update this report if that changes.

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Re: Armed muggers use Pokémon Go to find victims
Posted by: Fox News ()
Date: July 11, 2016 10:18AM

I always knew Pokemon was a dangerous drug!

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Re: Armed muggers use Pokémon Go to find victims
Posted by: mU6dd ()
Date: July 11, 2016 12:31PM

I dont know about your home country you have dual citizenship in but ...

The United States of America Supreme Court rules that it is the parent's responsibility not to allow children to access the internet un-monitored, that the partent is completely responsible for allowing access and the result.

The problem here is Nintendo lying to parents about the safety of their "product".

Meanwhile ... children will not buy a game product which comes with a price of parents sitting on them while they play.

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Re: Armed muggers use Pokémon Go to find victims
Posted by: Dumbasses ()
Date: July 11, 2016 12:38PM

Going to a sketchy neighborhood or just standing around in a parking lot..yea I can see how nothing could go wrong

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