Augmented Reality – Go ‘Pokemon – Go’

Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go

By Kanika Satyan and Manas Ingle

Technology has changed the way human beings lead their day-to-day life. The influence technology has had, especially on the gaming and entertainment sector, whether for the positive or for the negative, has changed the perspective of gaming and entertainment all across the world. From enabling us to play real life games and sports virtually, the innovations in this sector are now enabling us to play virtual games in real life environments. Such developments have been brought about by technological improvements like virtual and augmented reality, which have taken various forms in the recent times.

Augmented Reality (“AR”) is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. This essentially means that AR turns the real-world environment interactive by augmenting inputs such as sound, videos, images etc, thus incorporating reality into a fantasy world. The world saw the application of the technology of AR at its best in the game “Pokémon Go”. It has been estimated that Pokémon Go has received around 500 million downloads in the United States alone. The game uses the phone’s GPS, camera and clock to create an augmented version of real life environment on your phone. It then allows the user (the “User”) to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon (“Pokémon”), who appear on device screens as though in the real world.

Though this concept of interplay between the real and the virtual world has been appreciated, multiple social and legal issues like breach of privacy, issues related to tort law, etc. have been raised regarding the game, its concept and the manner of usage of AR by the Pokémon Go developers (Niantic). The game requires players to physically move around to catch Pokémon and this may result in creation of nuisance with respect to third parties, often leading to self-injuries as well. Further, Pokémon Go players abide by the rule of “Gotta catch em’all” and hence many a times end up committing trespass. In many cases, Users have disturbed functioning of buildings like churches and hospitals while engaging in the game. Additionally negligent, careless and reckless driving and other acts by the Users have resulted in suits being filed for the tort of negligence as well.

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