Niantic and Nintendo have struck gold by launching Pokémon GO, an insanely popular mobile game which has so far survived the usual loss of interest that fans experience with gaming apps. For instance, Nintendo's Miitomo app topped 1.5 million downloads in the U.S. in its first week last year but lost half of its user base in the next two weeks. However, success comes with its own perils. The game is designed in such a way that players can come across Pokémon almost anywhere from a parking lot to the most desolate places to even under your boss's desk. As such, a lot of people are bound to be disappointed given that their homes, farms and backyards have turned out to be juicy PokéStops. Earlier this month, a Canadian woman filed a class action lawsuit against Niantic claiming that they failed to heed to her requests for removing her home from their list of PokéStops and now a couple in Detroit have filed a similar lawsuit against the game's creators, except that their demand goes beyond removing Pokémon from their surroundings.
The Detroit couple, named Scott and Jayme Dodich, contend that Nintendo and Niantic have made millions by allowing players to walk into other people's private spaces without the consent. Naturally, they want a share of the spoils because their property played a big part in the game gaining quick popularity. Frankly, uninvited visitors are bound to cause trouble and the couple stated that not only did people walk in, they trampled landscaping, looked inside vehicles and made them feel unsafe, and the fact that they took a legal recourse shouldn't surprise anyone. This is the second such instance in the United States inside a month when Niantic and Nintendo have been slapped with lawsuits by people whose privacy has been violated by Pokémon GO players. Earlier this month, Jeffrey Marder, a resident of New Jersey, filed a lawsuit against Niantic and Nintendo claiming that they displayed flagrant disregard to people's privacy by populating the real world with virtual Pokémon without seeking the permission of property owners.
While the Canadian lawsuit is awaiting certification by a Calgary court, whether the Detroit matter will turn out to become a full fledged class action lawsuit with many more property-owners joining in will be interesting to see in the coming days. As of now, Nintendo and Niantic have neither been served any notice by any court nor has any judgment been passed against them. However, these are still early days and anything could happen in the next six months, but if the Detroit couple is indeed awarded a share of Nintendo's profits, the number of similar lawsuits may shoot up across the country in no time.