Pokémon Go: People driving while playing the game have caused millions in damages in just five months

Mara Faccio and John McConnell are working on a paper with the title ‘Death by Pokémon Go’ where they are highlighting the dark side of the popular AR game.

Two economists from Purdue University have estimated that people driving while playing Pokémon Go caused millions in damages in just 148 days of the launch of the game.

Pokémon Go: People driving while playing the game have caused millions in damages in just five months

Pokémon Go

Mara Faccio and John McConnell are working on a paper with the title ‘Death by Pokémon Go’ where they are highlighting the dark side of the popular AR game.

According to a report by The Verge, the research by Mara and John claims that Pokémon Go has resulted in a damage of somewhere between $5.2 million to $25.5 million in just one county in Indiana. They went through the accident reports from the Tippecanoe County after the release of the game in July 2016 to extrapolate the amount of damage.

Their research found that an additional 286 accidents and crashes occurred in the 148 days when the statistics were compared for the same time frame in the past. Out of the 286 crashes, 134 occurred near pokéstops. On digging further into the statistics and how Pokémon Go works, they realised that the number of crashes were higher near pokéstops than Pokémon Gyms. Pokéstops are points in the game where people are required to walk to, to gain supplies for the game while Gyms require fighting the competing Pokémon Go trainers.

One thing to note here is that when Niantic Labs realised that people are cheating by driving around in vehicles to collect supplies from pokéstops, they made it difficult for users to play the game while moving at a high speed. The result of the crashes was the fact that users were driving to pokéstops and then hopping out of the car for supplies for a quick battle.

Image: Pokémon Company

Image: Pokémon Company

The report also points out that if the calculations of the damage are to be scaled to cover the entire United States, the total damage amounts to somewhere between $2 billion to $7.5 billion in just five months. The report also mentioned that the players were responsible for the loss of two lives in that one county in 148 days.

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