Pokeman Go craze hits Myanmar


Photo: Hong Sar

After only one week, Pokemon Go has young mobile phone users glued to their phones chasing fictional characters around.

Pokemon Go, a free augmented reality game developed by US-based Niantic for Apple and Android devices, began rolling out last weekend across Southeast Asia to an excited reception mostly by young mobile phone users.

But as has been seen in Myanmar and Thailand, fears have been voiced about the game’s users intruding in religious and public sites chasing the Pokemon characters using GPS and visible on their phone screen.

This weekend, hordes of young people could be seen in Yangon’s Mahalbandula Park and in other public places staring at their mobile phones and chasing the characters.

The game has received a mixed reception after it was rolled out a few weeks ago in North America and in Europe. On the one hand, some public commentators claimed the game would encourage people to get exercise and visit interesting places. On the other hand, fears were voiced that this was yet one more reason for young people to remain addicted to staring at their mobile phone.

A number of accidents have been reported in the United States and the UK after users were hit by cars or fell into rivers staring at their phones. Viral videos shared on social media show people who have met accidents while playing the game. In addition, thieves have rigged the game to attract players to secluded spots where they were robbed. One woman ended up in a tiger enclosure at a zoo in the US, promoted by the game to enter chasing a Pokemon character.

(Photo: Hong Sar)

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