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Can a US city really ban Pokemon Go?

Des Moine, Washington has assembled a city-commissioned committee that is attempting to get Pokemon Go banned from the region.

Published onSeptember 6, 2016

Pokemon Go Splash screen 2

Recently, a man was arrested in Russia for playing Pokemon Go in a church, and it’s looking like he might be seeing some jail time. His actions allegedly violated a law that forbids abasement of human dignity. In the aftermath of the Russian kerfuffle, one US city is actually considering banning the game altogether.

Whereas the Russian pokefan’s arrest had to do with him playing the game in a specific context, Des Moines, Washington is trying to make it impossible for anyone to play the game within city limits. City officials have organized a committee that is attempting to ‘opt out’ of the game by petitioning Niantic.

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Their concerns stem from increased traffic problems in the city. Although Pokemon Go now periodically reminds Pokemon Masters not to drive while attempting to catch ‘em all, it seems like pocket monster addicts on the go are willing to put their own lives and the lives of others at risk in their quest to be the very best.

More specifically, South King County city’s marina and beach park have been flooded with an unprecedented number of people day and night. Although the quiet region used to be a popular haunt for a handful of fishermen and boating enthusiasts, now hundreds of gamers swarm the area on a daily basis.

In addition to being a handy place to catch water Pokemon, there are also a number of densely clustered Pokestops and gyms in the area, making it a natural hotspot for the popular augmented reality mobile game.

Nintendo’s mobile strategy:
2008: what’s an iPhone
2010: what’s an Android
2012: nope
2014: still no
2016: change how society functions
— Aaron Levie (@levie) July 11, 2016

“We’re talking 150, 200 people down at the marina, and we’re talking at night,” said Sgt. Doug Jenkins of the Des Moines Police Department. “It’s been a drain on the police resources. People are driving in there after hours. It’s noise-related, they’re leaving their garbage around. There are complaints that they’re smoking marijuana and drinking.”

The city-appointed committee is petitioning Niantic to remove game functionality from the city, but so far the developers have not responded to requests. What’s more, city officials are lamenting that, even if they successfully get the game banned, they are aware that more augmented reality games are likely on the way.

It’s been a drain on the police resources.

“This is not the end, this is just the beginning,” harbormaster Joe Dusenbury said. “It’s going to be around for a long time. I was hoping it would just fade away.”

What are your thoughts regarding Des Moines, Washington’s attempt to ban Pokemon Go from their city limits? Could this set a negative precedent? Let us know your take in the comments below!

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