‘Death by Pokémon GO’: Researchers Discover Pokémon Go Caused Millions in Damages

For a brief point in time, Pokémon Go was one of the most popular apps in the country. Despite bringing millions in revenue for the Niantic company, it also brought injuries and death, well at least according to a new paper.

This report titled Death By Pokemon Go, shows the darker signed of augmented reality gaming. Purdue University economists Mara Faccio and John McConnell read through accident reports from Tippecanoe County, Indiana, in the first 148 days after the game was released in July 2016. In that county alone, the total value of injuries, damage and the two lives lost between $5.2 to $25.5 million. If these numbers correlate with the rest of the country, it would suggest that $2 billion to $7.3 billion in just a few months.

The reports showed during those 148 days, 286 additional crashes occurred in the county, compared to the same time period before. Of these, 134 took place near pokéstops. In this scenario, it’s crucial to determine that Pokémon Go caused these damages directly, as opposed to just causing people to be more active outside, those more likely to get hit by cars.

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Stock Photo: BANGKOK,THAILAND-AUGUST 7, 2016 : Pokemon Go,most popular new online game application smartphone, a free-to-play reality mobile game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices (pim pic / Shutterstock.com)

Looking at the numbers, economists realized that the number of crashes was much higher near pokéstops than gyms, suggesting that the crashes really were caused by people jumping out of cars while playing the game. The increased number of deaths were not just caused by people being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Pokémon Go was actually causing people to make dumb decisions.

It is important to point out, that Pokémon Go developers decided to make the game hard to play while moving at high speeds. As a result, if you’re going too fast, you can’t just battle at a gym or catch more Pokémon.

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Pokemon GO augmented reality smartphone game players (Stoyan Yotov / Shutterstock, Inc.)