The widespread popularity of Pokémon GO presents the first opportunity to observe the geographic effects of location-based gaming at scale.
The widespread popularity of Pokémon GO presents the first opportunity to observe the geographic effects of location-based gaming at scale. This paper reports the results of a mixed methods study of the geography of Pokémon GO that includes a five-country field survey of 375 Pokémon GO players and a large scale geostatistical analysis of game elements. Focusing on the key geographic themes of places and movement, we find that the design of Pokémon GO reinforces existing geographically-linked biases (e.g. the game advantages urban areas and neighborhoods with smaller minority populations), that Pokémon GO may have instigated a relatively rare large-scale shift in global human mobility patterns, and that Pokémon GO has geographically-linked safety risks, but not those typically emphasized by the media. Our results point to geographic design implications for future systems in this space such as a means through which the geographic biases present in Pokémon GO may be counteracted.
Ashley Colley, Jacob Thebault-Spieker, Allen Yilun Lin, Donald Degraen, Benjamin Fischman, Jonna Häkkilä, Kate Kuehl, Valentina Nisi, Nuno Nunes, Nina Wenig, Dirk Wenig, Brent Hecht and Johannes Schöning (2017) The Geography of Pokémon GO: Beneficial and Problematic Effects on Places and Movement In CHI '17: Proceedings of the 35th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, New York, NY, USA. 10.1145/3025453.3025495 (to appear) | PDF of Paper