The creators of Pokémon Go spent over five years scrutinizing map data and historic markers in order to determine where exactly to put its Pokémon portals – the places where its users collect, train, and battle Pokémon. Despite their best efforts to pick the perfect locations, Pokémon Go is now facing backlash from historic memorials and private property owners about the trouble the portal locations have caused.
Historic memorials, such as the National 9/11 Memorial or Washington DC Holocaust Museum, have seen a steady increase in people at the locations to catch Pokémon. The representatives of these memorial sites have requested that the locations be excluded from the game so that true visitors are not disrupted.
The portals are not just exclusive to public locations. Private residences are also susceptible to housing Pokémon locations. Although Pokémon Go claims to warn its users to use common sense and follow all applicable laws, instances have occurred where users have purposefully entered private property without permission or will disrupt a property owner to request access to a backyard or other private area to catch a Pokémon. One New Jersey resident has taken extreme action to protect his property. He filed a class action lawsuit against Niantic, the application’s creator, for nuisance and unjust enrichment. It is unclear whether Niantic could be held responsible for its users’ actions, but the message of this lawsuit is loud and clear – there is a time and place for Pokémon portals and private residences and memorials are not it.