The incredible popularity of the Pokémon Go mobile game has raised questions about access to public spaces, the future of gaming and even safety. USC experts discuss whether we should fear or welcome the new craze. (And yes, according to social media, the USC campus is crawling with all sorts of Pokémon – gotta catch ’em all!)
What’s it replacing?
“If we want to pass judgment on whether it’s good or bad, we need to do it in the context of what it replaces. If these people were previously staring at a screen indoors and by themselves, then this is a little more human. If they were all outside having a picnic and talking, then it’s a little less. My guess is that we’re looking more at the former.”
The perfect date
“It’s perfect as a dating game. You meet someone with a common interest, engage in that activity together, and get a new challenge for tomorrow and the next day.
“If you’re out and you see somebody playing, it’s like at a bar: it gives you a shared social situation. Plus, it breaks through the awkwardness, by providing a natural pick-up line.”
The privacy question
“The problem with this, as well as the problem with all these other apps, is there isn’t a way, when you’re installing it, to say, ‘Well, it wants this permission. I’m going to deny it, but still install it.’ That would be a much better way to do things from a security perspective. That’s where we really need to get to. Of course, app developers want unfettered access to just about everything.”
How we consume media
“When Pokémon Go finishes maturing, when the creators learn how to serve not just an audience with an abundant amount of free time but the parents of those players, a community in an old-age home and a group of commuters on a bus, then it will have revolutionized the way we consume media. When developers determine how to leverage properly our world, the digital world and different player motivations across societies, they will change the way we experience and tell stories.”
Digital and public spaces
“This is the problem with technology adoption — we don’t have time to slowly dip our toe in the water. Tenants have had no say, no input, and now they’re part of it.”