Welcome to all my fellow Pokémaniacs and non-fans alike. This is a Pokémon GO news flash coming to you straight from the center of our Altered Reality. Since the release of Pokémon GO a few days ago the internet has been absolutely awash with news and happenings having to deal with the title and its immediate impact on our little blue planet. This particular news flash is a summation of all that info and who knows, if the game stays this popular, it might be the first of many; that is up to all of us who play. Onto the news:
In Australia, there were two gigantic gatherings of Pokémaniacs shortly after the games initial release. The Pokémon GO Walk, which took place in Sydney in the park across from the Opera House, was hastily thrown together and scheduled via Facebook by some of the staff from PAX Australia and much to everyone’s surprise at least 2,000 people showed up. A similar event took place on the other side of the country in Perth, which ultimately saw around a thousand Pokéfans in attendance.
But since the games release people have been speculating that all kinds of horrible things, from accidents to deaths, would be caused by this massive exodus of nerds to the outside world, and within the first few days of Pokémon GO being out in the world these statements have been proven kind of right, at least on two separate occasions.
19-year-old Shayla Wiggins headed to Wind River located in the town of Riverton, Wyoming in search of water Pokémon when she stumbled upon a corpse floating in the river. She quickly called 9-1-1 who directed Fremont County Sherriff’s to the scene. In Shayla’s own words “I was like, extremely scared, I didn’t know what to do…I was shaking and crying.” A perfectly understandable response.
The second instance is much more terrifying. According to police in O’Fallon, Missouri four teenagers were arrested and are being charged with Robbery 1st Degree and Armed Criminal Action against nine Pokémon GO players. It seems the youths were heading to some of the Pokéstops and Gyms that are in the game, knowing that they were likely to find people there, playing the game, at which point they would hold them up and take their stuff. Three of the young men are being charged as adults with a bail set at $100,000 cash only. Stay safe out there Pokéfans.
Some entrepreneurial types have taken the opposite approach to turning Pokémon GO into a profit making an app and have started to post ads online offering to be your very own Pokémon chauffer. The business model is simple; the enterprising person posts an ad offering to drive folks playing the game around whatever major city they happen to be from, some of them offering extras such as free snacks, Wi-Fi, or phone charge ports, all for the low mean price of between 20 and 25 dollars an hour. Not how I would choose to play the game, but an interesting concept nonetheless.
As many of us know, the worst part of Pokémon GO, hands down, has to be the constant server issues. As annoying as these may be it is still a great game, but it appears that Niantic isn’t happy with how constant an issue this happens to be, and the company has decided that in order to ensure a smoother launch of the game in the rest of the world they will halt its release until they have managed to make the servers a little more regular.
This is unfortunate for iPhone users in Europe and the world at large, however Android users still have the option to side-load the game onto their phones but this can come with its own set of potential issues. The good folks over at cyber security firm Proofpoint have found that some versions of Pokémon GO that have been found online have contained a malicious Trojan horse type of malware which has the potential to hijack your device and steal your info. Luckily, this is only found in some of the versions of the game found online. If you couldn’t wait for the official release and side-loaded the game check out Proofpoint’s official post on this topic which provides all the necessary details and statistics needed to determine if you have a corrupt version of the game.
There is actually a minor security concern featured in the official app. If you have signed up for the game using your Google account and you have an iPhone then Niantic has access to all of the info that your Google account does. Most apps which associate with your Google account simply ask for your basic info, but it appears that Pokémon GO gives Niantic access to all of your Google data from emails to documents. And all without the standard prompt asking for permission. At this time it is unknown whether or not this was a simple oversight on the part of Niantic and it doesn’t appear that they have or are likely to do anything with this potential access to your data, so it isn’t worth getting too freaked out about, but it is definitely worth being aware of.
It now appears that Niantic has been made aware of this issue and are working to correct it. The following comes from a statement directly from the company: “We recently discovered that the Pokémon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account. Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access.”
As is to be expected, streaming of the original Anime’s theme “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” has increased by more than 360 percent on the popular music streaming platform Spotify since the release of Pokémon GO. At this very moment, there are at least 190,000 playlists with “Pokémon” in the title as well as 53,000 entitled “Pikachu”. In particular, these songs have proven popular and now reign as the top 5 Pokémon related Spotify tracks: “Pokémon Theme”, “Pokérap”, “Pokémon Johto”, “Go Pokémon Go”, and “I Want To Be A Hero”.
With Pokémon GO becoming such a certifiable phenomenon almost overnight Nintendo has rightfully begun to reap the rewards of their games success. Nintendo stock shot up to 200 dollars a share, which is about a 25 percent increase in value, totaling a 7.5 billion dollar increase in the value of the company. Some analysts say that this increase is unlikely to be permanent but Pokémon GO is yet to be released in major portions of the world and with the Nintendo, NX mystery console to debut sometime in the near future Nintendo’s often predicted downfall is looking a little further away.
Many Pokémaniacs have been swapping Pokémon GO related memes left and right on all of the social media platforms and if you are one of these individuals you may well have seen a tweet floating around stating that a Clefairy named LOVEISLOVE is owning at the physical location of the widely known homophobic hate group the Westboro Baptist Church, which just so happens to be a Gym in game. Well, it appears that someone within the church is familiar enough with Pokémon to start firing back via their own twitter account saying wonderful things like Clefairy is a sodomite and that Pikachu says you are going to hell. How classy. O well, let’s hope that that LOVEISLOVE gets leveled up and stays as an incumbent of their gym forever.
— Westboro Baptist (@WBCSaysRepent) July 12, 2016
That is all of the Pokémon news that we here at The Nerd Stash were able to dredge up thus far. As the game says, stay aware of your surroundings and be safe fellow Pokéfans.
Do you think Pokémon GO is an overrated piece of trash? Were you too busy playing the game to finish reading this article? Are you upset that your phone doesn’t have a Gyroscope and so you cannot use the games AR feature (I am.)? Let us know how you are feeling by leaving a Pokémessage in the comments section.
Trent Katzenberger is a writer, youtuber, gamer, nerd, and just all around a strange sort of guy. He loves trying new stuff and creating odd things.