Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Pokemon Go: Man’s house accidentally turned into a ‘gym’, causing huge problems

Published 11/07/2016

Pokemon Go is encouraging people to turn up at others' houses and loiter at them
Pokemon Go is encouraging people to turn up at others' houses and loiter at them

A man has suffered the full pains of Pokemon Go after accidentally becoming the owner of a gym.

Boon Sheridan woke up to find that the hugely popular augmented reality game had decided that his house was one of the game’s important gyms. That means that people are rewarded for coming to it in real life – resulting in what he said was dozens of people outside his door.

“Living in an old church means many things,” he wrote on Twitter. “Today it means my house is a Pokemon Go gym. This should be fascinating.”

The game’s gyms are mostly picked using points of information on a map, meaning that areas like parks or churches will usually get the designation. But the app appears to have used an old version of the map, which showed that Mr Sheridan’s house was a church despite not having been for over 40 years.

That has meant that a steady stream of people has been showing up to his house since the game became one of the most popular ever released this week. And there appears to be very little he can do about it.

Mr Sheridan noted that some people can sit in a park across from the house to be seen as being in the gym. But it still meant that cars were regularly pulling up outside of his house so that their phone would log their location.

And those same issues could lead to problems for people living nearby. Mr Sheridan noted that some people get upset when mapping apps send traffic through their usually quiet areas – and that Pokemon Go could lead to similar problems.

Read more

Pokémon Go craze sweeps across Northern Ireland

Pokemon GO UK release date - and how to get it now on iPhone and Android  

Mr Sheridan pointed out that the problems could easily lead to the value of his house going down and issues with his neighbours. The strange behaviour of people around his location – people turning up at all times and then leaving soon after – could easily lead people to speculate that drug dealing or other crime was happening there.

Those same issues could come to players as well, he suggested. Since the game could encourage people to trespass on private property, and many parts of the US have laws that allow people to kill trespassers, the game could have potentially deadly consequences for players.

For the moment, it isn’t possible to have your own house removed from Pokemon Go. Developers Niantic only allow people to report locations if they present “immediate physical danger”, and makes clear that requests to have them removed “for other reasons cannot be addressed at this time”.

In the same way, it isn’t possible to have places turned into gyms or other areas. But some speculated in reply to Mr Sheridan that the company could presumably encourage companies to pay in future to have their premises turned into gyms – and so encourage players to go there.

Independent

Online Editors

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More