Beware: Pokemon Go, a new smartphone game based on cute Nintendo characters like Squirtle and Pikachu, can be harmful to your health.
The "augmented reality" game, which layers gameplay onto the physical world, has become the top grossing app in the iPhone app store just days after its Wednesday release in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
And players have already reported wiping out in a variety of ways as they wander the real world - eyes glued to their smartphone screens - in search of digital monsters. Twisted ankles, mishaps with revolving doors and walking into trees have been among the painful results.
The game has also induced people to post pictures of themselves on social media chasing creatures in all sorts of dangerous situations, like while driving.
Who’s liable if you’re in an accident where someone is distracted by their phone while behind the wheel? What rights do you have?
Let’s not throw out “personal responsibility” here. If you are distracted for any reason and that results in injury to yourself or another, you need to look in the mirror first.
But, could the “Pokemon Go” company be liable? The answer: It is very possible.
The company has developed, produced and marketed a program that they know 1) will be gobbled up by young people and 2) will result in distraction while in the hunt for whatever it is they are looking for or looking to do. Targeting the younger and more naïve generation, is it surprising that people are getting injured?
A game is a game, but when you can positively foresee that the manner in which designed will likely result in injury to users and innocent others, I see a very real possibility of legal liability to the company that is marketing and selling “Pokemon Go”.