German vehicles manufacturer Volkswagen bans its employees from playing Pokemon GO, fearing that it could potentially be used for corporate espionage.

Niantic’s augmented-reality app Pokemon GO has had unprecedented success. The game is now the most successful app in United States history, even surpassing King’s confectionery puzzle game Candy Crush Saga. Longstanding Pokemon fans and franchise newbies alike have found huge enjoyment in the game, which allows players to catch ‘em all in the real world, with much of its popularity coming from the fact that Pokemon GO can bring people together.

Unfortunately, employees at German vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen will not be joining the mobile gaming phenomenon any time soon. Joining the country of Iran, which has also banned Pokemon GO, Volkswagen has forbidden its (approximately) 70,000 employees from playing the game, according to a leaked email. Not only are employees not allowed to play the game during work hours – which would be par the course given how the game could potentially sap productivity – but they aren’t even allowed to have the game installed on their smartphones at all.

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Volkswagen’s fear is that if its employees join the Pokemon GO craze, they will be at higher risk of corporate espionage. Pokemon GO shares data, location tagging, and it also makes use of a smartphone’s camera. Volkswagen likely fears that if its employees are playing the game at work, it becomes far more likely that they will accidentally snap a photo of a secret Volkswagen project in the process of sharing their Pokemon-catching fun, or that the data from the app can somehow allow outsiders to figure out what the company is working on.

Given that Volkswagen is a billion-dollar company it makes sense that the vehicle manufacturer would go to such lengths to protect itself, though its employees may be disappointed that they aren’t even allowed to have the game installed, rather than just a ban on playing it during working hours. The company’s decision also begs the question of whether similar games will be banned and if the vehicle manufacturer is just the first in a line of other companies that will put rules like this in place.

Mock-ups have been made for Harry Potter GO while Microsoft has come up with some GO-clone ideas for its own game franchises, and with Pokemon GO having made $200 million, it seems likely that similar titles will soon be available. So, if Volkswagen and any other companies want their no-GO policies to work it will have to keep an eye on any new augmented-reality releases too.

Check out our helpful Pokemon GO guides:

Pokemon GO is available for Android and iOS devices.

Source: Bild (German)