The City of Des Moines Wants To "Opt Out" Of Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO has been the subject of controversy since before it even launched, but few places thus far have resorted to outright banning the game or trying to get Niantic to remove all game elements from their geographic area. Petitions to remove Pokemon from French schools and to disable the game in Iran are just a few examples, but due to the nature of the game's backend, these requests can be somewhat difficult for Niantic to fulfill. The game is based on a backend of map data from Google Maps and the official Pokemon GO client hooks into Niantic's servers in a very specific way for security's sake. Though they understand this, the mayor and city council of Des Moines, Iowa have pulled together and voted unanimously to give the game the boot from their fair city.

According to police sergeant Doug Jenkins, the city's police are dealing with increased activity and complaints due to the game, especially at night. The issues seem to have concentrated themselves on the local marina, a hotspot of Pokestops and gyms that tends to attract somewhere between 100 and 200 players in the dead of night. While this would normally only be a slight issue, the players' behavior is cause for concern. Littering, noise, and alleged consumption of alcohol and marijuana are just a few samples from the rap sheet that the Pokemon training crowds that roam the marina area at night have managed to rack up.

The city council's vote drove the City Attorney to send a request to Niantic via their standard form to ask about removing the game functionality from city limits, but the city has thus far received no reply from Niantic. Joe Dusenbury, the local harbor master, fears that Pokemon GO is only the beginning. According to Dusenbury, augmented reality gaming could take off on the back of Pokemon GO's initial success, leading to a large number of similar issues in the future from a larger number of people, whether Niantic responds to their request to make the game go dark in Des Moines or not. The city council expressed concern that the droves of Pokemon GO players were at odds with local businesses, which are usually a tourism draw for the city. Des Moines is not the first municipality to become fed up with Pokemon GO and its players' antics, and it's unlikely to be the last.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]
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