Pokémon Go players are responsible for potentially billions in damage

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Sep 3, 2019, 8:24 AM EDT (Updated)

After its release on July 6, 2016, augmented reality game Pokémon Go became an international craze. The summer of 2016 catapulted millions of players into walking, biking, and driving to catch “pocket monsters” in the wild. Unfortunately, according to researchers Mara Faccio, faculty fellow, and John J. McConnell, professor of finance, both at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, there were some unintended consequences.

Faccio and McConnell examined 12,000 traffic accident reports in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, between March 1, 2015, through November 30, 2016. In their paper, “Death by Pokémon Go,” they noted a “disproportionate increase in crashes” near PokéStops.

(For those few who haven’t played, PokéStops are locations where players can find items to help you in your quest to catch ‘em all.)

Essentially, they found there was “a significant increase in crashes near PokéStops from before to after July 6, 2016.” How significant? Sadly, it’s a 47 percent increase in crashes in Tippecanoe County. Worse yet, personal injuries also increased by 25 percent.

Worst of all, there were two traffic-related deaths.

The researchers determined that the cost of users who wrangled creatures such as Caterpies and Mewtwos “to be in the range of $5.2 million to $25.5 million over only the 148 days following the introduction of the game.” Based on this information, they extrapolated that, nationwide, the financial damage to Pokémon Go players could be as high as $2 billion to, egads, $7.3 billion. And yes, those numbers include the cost of human life.

Let this serve as a warning to players who are racing toward PokéStops in moving vehicles. Rather than catching ‘em all, it’s better for life, limb, and wallet that you just let ‘em go.

(Via The Verge)