Recently it is reported that approximately $30 Million was invested to develop one single game by media giants Google and Nintendo that would soon send the world into a modern craze. We could state that we have now seen a launch into an untouched world of combining virtual reality and reality. But could this new craze be touching on and bringing to light that we can no longer argue that reality and virtual reality are not related even though what happens online and offline has a constant relationship? But the greatest question of all is when we unravel the link between the online and offline world who is then responsible for our behaviour?
We have had computer games ever since 1962 with the release of Spacewar and over the last 50 years we have seen a transformation in how games are played but also what we are asking for; constant stimulation away from our daily reality. However, have we ever taken responsibility for our actions, behaviour and ways of engaging online and offline?
Have we ever had a game that is combining the online and offline world at exactly the same time? One that doesn’t keep you confined to your own home but seemingly has you out functioning and connected in the outside world but at the same time shut off from reality?
For those who aren’t aware or up to speed with the latest craze, here we are talking about Pokémon Go.
So the first question is what is it exactly and how does it work? The game is played through the use of GPS and camera access on your phone. The aim is to catch, battle and train virtual Pokémon through viewing the real world via your phone. This means that what you see through your phone screen becomes real. Again indicating the manufacturers of the game have chosen the location of Pokémon world wide to assist with the concept of going to find or catch Pokémon. Sounds simple in theory and could be argued that it is getting more people active and moving rather than sitting or staying behind a screen. Yet if we are disengaged from reality, whilst playing a game that takes us into another world, how do we engage and take responsibility for our actions in reality when we are watching them through a screen?
It is here important to note we are not here questioning if games should be played or not or even the amount of time or money spent on creating a single product. But rather questioning who is responsible and do we begin to apply the same rules that we have to reality to the online world, as we the consumers are saying there is no separation between the two?
Through questioning responsibility we begin to establish 3 examples
Example 1: A group of children use the game to catch and find Pokémon whilst being connected to GPS. In their angst to find the Pokémon they have followed the map yet they get lead or lost in a mine/cave. Who is responsible? Who is responsible for the safety of those children who are now in harms way because of the game?
Example 2: You yourself are playing the same Pokémon game and you see a Pokémon in front of you, you step out to catch it…. Following the simple steps of the game. But you get hit by a car… Who is responsible?
Example 3: You go to a known Pokemon location which is indicated by the game, there you get robbed, attacked or harassed in some way… Who is responsible?
Naturally there are two parts to the story the company who created the game and the person or people playing the game. But unfortunately due to the world we live in today no one will take responsibility for those actions.
In a short amount of time all these examples have occurred in one way or another, but have we change our behaviour, our approach from the company level addressing the safety and welfare of millions of people worldwide? But also from a personal aspect, have we taken responsibility for the state of the world that millions of people would actually rather check themselves out of by chasing a virtual animal than connect, communicate and express in our day-to-day life.
It is estimated that this single game has been downloaded 75 Million times, we could celebrate the technological advancements but in truth have we advanced or have we stepped further away?