The world seems to be going crazy for Pokémon GO.
The smartphone game’s incredible popularity is responsible for everything from a massive jump in the value of Nintendo’s shares to the discovery of a dead body.
Pokémon GO uses augmented reality to place creatures and items in real locations – which brought people, and Pokémon, to places they don’t normally go.
In some cases, it’s led to trouble…
Man’s private home turned into Pokémon gym
Involuntarily, some people have seen their homes overtaken by Pokémon trainers.
Boon Sheridan, who lives with his family in an old church in Massachusetts, was surprised to find that his house has been marked as a Pokémon gym: A place where people can train their fictional creatures.
Over the weekend, gamers have been hanging out in his garden and a constant flow of cars has been blocking his driveway.
Sheridan, who has been tweeting about the experience, luckily seems to find it amusing.
He posted a picture of a meeting with the man who in the game “owns the gym”: A tweet suggesting that we now live in a world where places can have multiple owners as there are multiple “realities.”
Westboro Baptist church overtaken by gay-friendly Pokémon
Another gym is the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. The controversial church is currently ruled by a pink Pokémon known as a Clefairy.
Users can give their creatures custom nicknames, and the current leader of the gym at the church seems to be poking fun at the church’s homophobic views: The Pokemon has the nickname “love is love.”
The game assigns real places in the world as locations for in-game places, like gyms or Pokestops that dispense items. These places can be anything from large landmarks like buildings, or something smaller and simpler like a sign.
One of those places is the Darwin Police station in Australia. The Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services had to ask players not to go hunting inside the station.
Dead body found by teenager hunting water Pokémon
Shayla Wiggins, 19, woke up early Friday morning to catch Pokémon by the Big Wind River in Wyoming.
“I was trying to get a water Pokémon,” Wiggins told CNN.
Instead, she made an alarming discovery: A dead body, close to the Wyoming Highway 789 Bridge.
“I probably would have never went down there if it weren’t for this game,” she admitted. But the scary incident isn’t deterring her. Wiggins says she will continue to play the game.
Armed robbers use the game to lure lone players
Missouri police have reported that armed robbers are using Pokémon Go to snare victims in isolated places.
Officers took four suspects into custody after receiving a 911 call around 2 a.m. local time Sunday morning. They later located a handgun, according to a statement from the O’Fallon police department.
“Using the geolocation feature of the ‘Pokemon Go’ app the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims,” officials said.
“The way we believe it was used is you can add a beacon to a pokestop to lure more players. Apparently they were using the app to locate ppl standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in,” O’Fallon police posted on Facebook.
The game allows players to drop a Lure module in a real world location to attract high numbers of Pokémon for 30 minutes. The lure modules have reportedly also been used by business owners to bring people to their stores.
In a joint statement, the app’s makers The Pokémon Company International and Niantic said they were aware of incidents involving some players.
“We encourage all people playing Pokémon GO to be aware of their surroundings and to play with friends when going to new or unfamiliar places. Please remember to be safe and alert at all times.”
Soon to be more popular than Twitter
It’s safe to say that the augmented reality app is having some serious real world implications. Only two days after the release the game was installed on 5.16% of all Android devices in the U.S., according to analytics firm SimilarWeb.
The app is already more popular than Tinder and is soon to outperform Twitter on Android. It’s also the top free app and the top grossing app in the U.S. iPhone App Store.
All this, and it hasn’t even launched globally yet. It’s only available in limited markets, including Australia and the United States.