UPDATE 13/7/16 9.55am: The Pokmon Company does have a system for delisting buildings from Pokmon Go, it has told Eurogamer, but it requires the company or institution in question to log onto its support website and fill out a contact form.
“PokStops and Gyms in Pokemon Go are found at publicly accessible places such as historical markers, public art installations, museums and monuments,” a spokesperson for The Pokmon Company explained. “If you want to report inappropriate locations or content, please submit a ticket on the Pokmon GO Support website https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com.
“We invite any authorised person to contact us about the inclusion of their premises in Pokmon GO through our support website. We will take relevant steps at that point based on the nature of the inquiry.”
One the one hand, given the millions of locations tagged worldwide as Pokstops it is obvious developer Niantic can not vet the suitability of each individually. But the basic nature of this solution seems to be the very least it could do to remedy any problems.
Surely there’s a better approach than telling a Holocaust Museum to fill out a contact form to request a fix for an issue not of the institution’s making.
ORIGINAL STORY 12/7/16 5.15pm: Pokmon Go is a huge phenomenon, but there are places where people should simply know not be on their mobile phones.
Pretty much at the top of that list? The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.
Speaking with the Washington Post, the institution has said it is trying to get the – count ’em – three Pokstops which have been generated within its building removed from the app.
Currently, people are playing Pokmon Go within the museum while wandering around its exhibits, which highlight the atrocities of the Nazi era and how millions of innocent men, women and children were murdered.
“Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” the museum’s comms director Andrew Hollinger told The Post.
“We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game.”
One particularly troubling image circulating online yesterday appeared to show the poison gas Pokmon Koffing in the museum – a situation so inappropriate that whether the image was legitimate or not, the very possibility this could occur is enough to hope The Pokmon Company and developer Niantic sit up and take notice.
Not everyone agrees, however. While researching this story the Post found a player who had released a lure item within the museum which spawned swarms of creatures for a small crowd of players.
“It’s not like we came here to play,” said Angie, a friend of the player who had released the lure. “But gotta catch ’em all.”
Pokmon Go uses Google Maps data and information from Niantic’s previously AR game Ingress to populate the world with Pokstops and other feature. A lot of the app is algorithmically based, but there is still surely something which can be done to edit the data.
We’ve got in contact with The Pokmon Company to find out what can be done.