City Debates How To Handle Pokemon GO's Impact On Its Community


Citizens of Milwaukee, Wisconsin hold a town meeting to discuss the impact of Pokemon GO on its community, with both its defenders and haters letting loose.

There's no denying that Pokemon GO - the augmented reality game that encourages players to go outside and hunt for Pokemon - has altered the world. While some businesses and players love it, others are infuriated by the influx of players wandering through their towns, businesses, or private properties. One city held a meeting to discuss the game and its impact, and it's clear that feelings regarding Pokemon GO are of a wide range.

Over 100 participants gathered to discuss the effects of Pokemon GO on Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with the input from both sides reaching a fevered pitch. Many explained their irritability toward the game, indicating that the sudden influx of visitors to Lake Park was creating an unexpected amount of garbage, debris, and damage to the facilities. Others, however, were unabashedly passionate in defending the game, slamming those against the mobile AR game for trying to drive apart the people Pokemon GO has brought together.

The Director of Milwaukee County Parks, John Dargle Jr., explained that his leading concern was foot traffic in the park late at night. However, Dargle pointed out that he hasn't made a formal request to Niantic to have the park removed from Pokemon GO's list of PokeStops. Instead, the Director would prefer to have the game not be playable in the park after 8 pm, since the park is supposed to be closed to the public at 10 pm. However, it's unlikely that Niantic has the capability to set a specific time period for Pokemon to start and stop spawning and players to be able to battle over gyms and visit PokeStops. Milwaukee officials would most likely have to enforce this rule themselves rather than relying on Niantic.


500 million people have downloaded Pokemon GO since its release, and even though the number of active players has dropped, those still playing are clearly having a huge impact on the real world. Thankfully, Niantic has opened its doors to requests for locales to be removed from the game, and officials have stated that Niantic will be more mindful of PokeStop placement in the future. However, a public park is probably the exact kind of place that Niantic would consider to be acceptable, so it's likely that Milwaukee won't be the last town to experience these difficulties.

Unless the Pokemon GO obsession truly dies down, chances are there will be always be people out there who are annoyed by the presence of Pokemon GO players. Even if Niantic were to remove Milwaukee's Lake Park from the list of PokeStops, there's still every possibility that gamers would continue to regularly wander through it in search of random Pokemon spawning there. Given Pokemon's 20 years of massive popularity, it's unlikely that the mobile game will go away anytime soon. The best chance to improve the Lake Park situation will probably come from citizens of Milwaukee themselves helping to monitor the park and working with players to keep the area tidy.

Pokemon GO is out now on Android and iOS devices.

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