Players chasing Pikachu and other Bulbizarre in an Amsterdam hospital, organized "beatings" in Sydney, young Americans venturing into forbidden terrain: the madness of Pokémon Go, the augmented reality game that allows you to catch these virtual creatures is invading the world.
The phenomenon was due to arrive in France on 15 July, but the Nice attacks led to a postponement of the launch. Pokémon Go can cause crowds during an inappropriate period of time. "according to the IGN France website.
Dn parks, subway stations, cafes, vacant lots... everywhere the same show. With their noses glued to the smartphone, "hunters" try to get their hands on the little fictional characters in a very real world.
As of last week, the free Pokémon Go game, which is based on augmented reality, the technology that adds virtual elements to the real world perceived by the camera on smart phones, is available in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. It uses geolocation to allow users to catch Pokémon, the small creatures with multiple magical shapes and powers popularized nearly two decades ago.
The success of the game, downloaded to date more than 7 million times, is partly based on the interweaving of the real and the virtual. "It's cool to really play like a Pokémon trainer in real life"says Lucas Garcia, a 17-year-old Californian who has been a fan of the game since the Nintendo version was released in the late 1990s. "It's nice to have a video game that really gets you going instead of sitting in front of your TV screen holding a controller.".
Nearly a week after its release, Pokémon Go has become the most profitable game on the application download platforms of giants Google and Apple. The application is the most downloaded from the AppStore and competes with Twitter in terms of traffic generated on the Internet. Pokémon Go has generated several million dollars in revenue and on Monday, it even helped to boost Nintendo's share price by 25%.
Young people who have been robbed
The game's insolent success, once seen as the preserve of pre-teens, has gone almost mad in recent days. Incidents in the United States have increased, to the point where US authorities now require players to refrain from trespassing on private property or in areas off-limits to the public in an attempt to catch a Pokémon.
This is largely due to the intrinsic workings of the game, based in particular on Pokespots, places that are the lairs of creatures according to their characteristics, whether they are rather attracted by the urban universe, water, fire, grass etc..
The Missouri police deplored the fact that four players have already been lured into traps to be skinned and called for "vigilance".
Reminders of decency have also multiplied, such as Tuesday's reminder from Andrew Hollinger, director of the Holocaust Museum in Washington. "Playing this game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism." he told The Washington Post.
A Dutch hospital, the University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, promised him on Tuesday to "take care" of a sick Pokémon, in the hope of keeping the somewhat invasive players away. "Since yesterday, we have seen groups of young people walking around the building with their mobile phones in places where they shouldn't be, such as in the basement where clothes are sterilized, told AFP a spokeswoman for the hospital.
Thousands of people gathered in Sydney on Sunday for a 'Battle' for Pokémons in the Australian capital's historic centre, including its Botanic Gardens.
On Tuesday, the servers hosting the application even jumped in front of the demand.
According to the newspaper The WorldThe French launch of Pokémon Go will finally take place "Wednesday or Thursday", according to the game's communication agency. It will put an end to several days of waiting and misunderstanding. For forty-eight hours, the official account of the game application has been facing the scolding of players who are annoyed by its official unavailability in France.