Director Oliver Stone accuses Pokemon GO of being a massive security threat during a panel for his upcoming film Snowden at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con.
While the many negative news stories that seem to swirl around Pokemon GO daily don’t seem to be impacting its sales dominance yet, it is strange that such a successful game has had so many troubling things associated with it in such a short lifespan. Gamers have already discovered big Pokemon GO security risks present in the software before, and the mobile hit has found itself riddled with frustrating glitches in the first few weeks of its release. Things have gotten annoying enough that the malfunctioning tracking device in the game has spawned a separate website called Pokevision to help players discover where Pokemon near them are actually hiding.
These problems are superficial, however, when compared to the recent accusations levied against the game by director Oliver Stone. At a 2016 Comic-Con panel regarding his new film Snowden, which happens to deal with illegal data collection, Stone called Pokemon GO a “new level of invasion”. The director elaborated, stating:
“They are data mining every person in this room. It’s what they call surveillance capitalism.”
Although Stone’s accusations might come across as overly dramatic, they are founded in the uncomfortable truth about Pokemon GO – Niantic’s initial release build of the game had players agreeing to the developer getting full access to their Google accounts after installation, a feature that Niantic later dismissed as an error and patched out. There’s little doubt the game that has helped Nintendo break stock market records has a few more questions about its potentially malicious intent than answers currently.
Stone’s issues with the game, whether fans consider them valid or baseless speculation, aren’t the only thing creating trouble for Niantic. Pokemon GO has also gotten players shot at and been the subject of various new stories detailing the dangers of not paying full attention to one’s surroundings. Even on a technical level, Pokemon GO‘s servers have performed so inadequately that the mobile game had to delay its Japanese launch for fear of overloading them even further.
Whether or not Nintendo’s new cash cow is an invasion of privacy doesn’t seem to matter, however. Pokemon GO could be a bad game or the greatest game ever made, but the bottom line is that for all of its perceived and real faults, it has eclipsed 30 million downloads already with a Japanese launch that could so much as double that total when all is said and done. If it really does come down to a choice between privacy or Pikachu, then the world might have already given Niantic its answer.
What do you think about Stone’s claims? Does he have a valid argument, or is this a way to generate hype about a Snowden film that also has concerns over privacy issues? Let us know in the comments below.
Pokemon GO is available now in select regions on iOS and Android mobile devices.