Pokemon GO may be the hottest game in town, but not everyone is impressed. While the game is still drawing around 30 to 40 million players on a daily basis even after almost two months of its limited global launch in early July, it has also been fairly controversial, and has attracted its fair share of critics who have expressed deep reservations about the wildly-popular location-based augmented reality game for one reason or another. The French education minister, Ms. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, has now lent her influential voice to the growing chorus of protests against the game’s developers for putting Pokemon in places that either disturb the peace or disregard the sanctity of that area. According to reports, Ms. Vallaud-Belkacem doesn’t believe that having rare and legendary Pokemon in schools around the country is a good idea.
While it may sound curious at first, the French education minister does have her reasons. Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Paris on Monday, she expressed concerns that having rare Pokemon in schools may draw undesirable elements, which, understandably, would be a security concern in more ways than one. While keeping children safe from predators is obviously a goal first and foremost on the minds of most parents, the recent spurt in the number of terrorist attacks in Europe is also a big reason for Ms. Vallaud-Belkacem to express her discomfiture about the possibility of having strangers enter school compounds, ostensibly, to search for rare and legendary Pokemon. She also announced that she’ll meet representatives of the game’s developer, Niantic, to get her point across.
Of course, this is not the first time that institutions, organizations, or enterprises have complained about Pokemon sightings on their premises. From the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., and from the Atomic Bomb Memorial Park in Hiroshima to Taipei’s National Palace Museum, the game is already banned in a number of places in the countries it has already been released. From complaints about unruly behavior of the players, to threats of violence against them, Pokemon GO has seen a lot in the few weeks it has been publicly available on Android and iOS. Like in most of the other cases mentioned above, Ms. Vallaud-Belkacem’s concerns also seem legitimate by the looks of it, so it will be interesting to see how Niantic responds to the situation.