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2016年7月24日 (日)

ポケモンGO マナーを守って街を歩こう

The Yomiuri Shimbun
‘Pokemon Go’ players must observe manners as they pursue creatures
ポケモンGO マナーを守って街を歩こう

Only when attention is paid to safety and the rules are observed is it fun to play games.

The globally popular smartphone game “Pokemon Go” has now been released in Japan.

After downloading the game app free of charge, a player is able to view their surroundings with the smartphone’s camera and catch virtual characters that appear on the screen by hitting them with a ball.

The game developers include The Pokemon Co., an affiliate of Nintendo Co. The app has attracted attention as a new type of game in which virtual characters are collected as gamers walk around towns and cities.

The number of people playing “Pokemon Go” in the United States has reached about 23 million per day, which is said to be a record high for a smartphone game. Those who have downloaded the app mainly are people who were children when the animated Pokemon enjoyed popularity in the 1990s.

The current “Pokemon Go” craze is a good example of content that originated in Japan being loved overseas.

A positive economic effect can also be expected. If the locations for acquiring virtual tools to catch Pokemon are set in such establishments as restaurants, it will help to attract customers. For example, McDonald’s Japan has announced a tie-up with “Pokemon Go.”

The Nintendo stock price briefly hit the ¥30,000 level for the first time in six years. Related stocks also fared well. It is hoped the current craze will reinvigorate the game industry.

Matters of concern

On the other hand, many concerns have also been expressed.

In the United States, a series of incidents have occurred in which players, distracted by the smartphone’s screen, suffered injuries as they bumped into signboards and other objects. There have also been cases in which accidents have occurred as players were absorbed in playing the game while they were at the wheel or fell from a cliff after losing their footing.

In Japan, too, looking at smartphones while walking has become a major issue, and there is concern about whether the “Pokemon Go” game will exacerbate the problem. Railway companies are nervous about the possibility of accidents occurring on station platforms.

It can be anticipated that players will enter places unfit for the game. In the United States, Pokemon appeared at such locations as a memorial at the site of terrorist attacks in New York and at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, with the facilities’ operators expressing discomfort.

The game app provider is required to sort out dangerous sites and unfit facilities for playing the game and work out software configurations that will exclude such locations from the game. In case problems occur at specific locations, it is necessary to deal with them flexibly by omitting such locations from the game as soon as possible.

As the school summer holidays have started, many children will play the “Pokemon Go” game. The government has released a message of caution on the internet, while Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, in a rare move, called for players to be aware of safety during a news conference Friday, saying, “We want them to pay heed to points of caution for safe playing.”

At home, parents must tell children how to stay safe when they play the game.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 23, 2016)


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