‘Death by Pokémon GO’ reveals how deadly the mobile game really is

pokemon go augmented reality

Remember June 2016? We sure do. Pokémon GO launched like a blazing comet across our skies, tuning smartphones into mini-gaming machines, and our lives into an adventure across the Johto Region.

But even with those splendid memories, the app has had negative side-effects too.

According to a study conducted by Purdue University, Pokémon GO has resulted in an increase in road traffic incidents in a county in Indiana.

“We examine nearly 12 000 detailed police accident reports for Tippecanoe County, Indiana, over the period of March 1, 2015, through November 30, 2016,” the study reads.

“The reports give, among other information, the date of the crashes, the location of the crashes by projected x,y geographic coordinates, an estimated range of the dollar value of damage to the vehicles involved, the number of persons injured, the number of fatalities, and the stated cause of the crash.”

With this information at hand, Purdue discovered the following: in the 148 days after the game debuted on app stores across the world, 286 additional car crashes were recorded. 134 of these were recorded near pokestops.

That’s a reported financial loss of between US$5.2-million and US$25.5-million.

On a sadder note, 31 personal injuries near pokestops were recorded. Two lives were also lost during this period.

“Regardless of whether that number is included, the incremental cost of users playing Pokémon GO while driving is significant,” the study adds.

While Pokémon GO’s legacy has faded somewhat in its second year, it’s clear that for some, the augmented reality mobile game became a little too real for some.

Read the full study, conducted by Mara Faccio and John McConnell here.

Andy Walker, former editor


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