Since its release Wednesday night, a new game, Pokémon Go has already gone on to become the top-grossing game in the three countries where it's currently available, adding nearly $11 billion to the value of Nintendo in less than a week.

The game, which "marries a classic 20-year old franchise with augmented reality," allows players to walk around "real-life" neighbourhoods while seeking "virtual Pokemon game characters" on their smartphone screens. Basically, a glorified fake scavenger hunt, similar to games like Ingress, etc.

In the United States, by July 8--just two days after its release--the game was installed on more than "5 percent of Android devices in the country, is now on more Android phones than dating app Tinder, has daily active users neck and neck with that of social network Twitter, and is also being played an average of 43 minutes a day--more time spent than on WhatsApp or Instagram."

"Some fans are now tweeting about playing the game while driving, and one user already reports, "Pokemon Go put me in the ER last night... Not even 30 minutes after the release...I slipped and fell down a ditch." In Australia the game has been leading some players into their local police station, and a woman in Wyoming reports that the game actually led her to a dead body floating in a river. One Pokemon Go screenshot has also gone viral. It shows a man capturing a Pokemon while his wife gives birth..."

The app's popularity has created lagging servers and forced the company Niantic to delay its international roll-out, meaning "Those who have already downloaded the game in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand can still play it, while those in the U.K., the Netherlands and other countries will have to wait."

Meanwhile, as people clearly can't wait, there has been a flood of downloads of unofficial copies of the game, exposing users to hackers who are circulating malicious versions of the game in order to backdoor their devices. "A remote access tool (RAT), known as DroidJack (or SandroRAT), has been added to some APK files, allowing third parties to gain full control over the users' mobile devices. Permissions granted then include: being able to directly call phone numbers, reading phone status' and identities, editing and reading text messages, sending SMS messages and recording audio."

It surely is spurious times...

UPDATE 13/7 -- Holocaust Museum to visitors: Please stop catching Pokemon here. "Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism," Andrew Hollinger, the museum's communications director, said. "We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game."

UPDATE 14/7 -- "Law enforcement agencies around the globe are reminding citizens to obey trespassing laws and follow common sense when playing Pokemon Go. The new crazy-popular mobile game has led to some frightening results in recent days, such as the location of a dead body and robberies of players in Missouri. Now, San Francisco Police Department Captain Raj Vaswani warned in one online posting for players to "obey traffic laws, please. Do not run into trees, meters, and things that are attached to the sidewalk; they hurt," he said. "Do not drive or ride your bike / skateboard / hipster techie device while interacting with the app. Know where your kids are going when playing with the app, set limits on where they can go, so they don't keep going trying to get that Pokemon."

UPDATE 19/7 -- "Pokemon Go is now the biggest mobile game of all time in the United States. Not only has it surpassed Twitter's daily users, but it is seeing people spend more time in its app than in Facebook. The game also surpassed Tinder in terms of popularity (based on installations) on July 7th."

UPDATE 29/7 -- "It turns out that the stairs of the Internet Archive’s San Francisco headquarters are a PokéGym, a site where players can train their Pokémon and fight with other Pokémon. Fortunately, the Pokémon warriors aren’t rowdy or disruptive; they resemble somnambulistic zombies stumbling around under the control of their glowing smartphone screens."

UPDATE 8/8 -- How Pokemon Go will make money from you. "Augmented reality games like Ingress and Pokemon Go have the potential to open up a very lucrative new revenue stream based on the acquisition and sale of data – not just personal data, but aggregated spatial data about urban activity patterns. There has already been some controversy about the terms of service for players, which give Niantic access to all manner of data on their phones – including email contacts and social media profiles. This data could potentially be sold to third parties with an interest in targeted advertising. But it is not only individually identifiable personal data that interests Niantic. They are also interested in the spatial data that is generated by Pokemon Go players. As has been widely observed, playing the game rapidly drains phone batteries, because when the game is open your phone is constantly in touch with Niantic servers and providing location information about your movements. [...] Niantic is now harvesting "geospatial data" about millions of people's movements: about how far they are prepared to travel as part of game play; about the kinds of places they stop during game play; about the groups they travel with; and the connections they make during game play, and much more."

UPDATE 18/8 -- I recently discovered some interesting background to the company Niantic Inc.---the company that developed Pokémon Go and indeed Ingress. The company was formed in 2010 by the founder of Keyhole Inc., John Hanke as "Niantic Labs," being an internal startup within Google. Niantic left Google in October 2015.

Keyhole Inc., founded in 2001, was a "software development company specialising in geospatial data visualisation applications and was acquired by Google in 2004." Keyhole was backed by Sony venture capital, NVIDIA and the CIA's venture capital arm In-Q-Tel, with the majority of In-Q-Tel' funds coming from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. "Keyhole's marquee application suite, Earth Viewer, emerged as the highly successful Google Earth application in 2005; other aspects of core technology survive in Google Maps, Google Mobile and the Keyhole Markup Language. The name "Keyhole" is a homage to the KH reconnaissance satellites, the original eye-in-the-sky military reconnaissance system now some 50 years old."

Just like how now smartphones are the new "eye-in-the-sky" on the ground...

"Zoe Quinn doesn't just make heartfeltexperimental games like Depression Quest. She's also pretty set on becoming a cyborg, judging from the cyberpunk as hell implants she's gotten over the last couple of years.

(Update: full disclosure, Quinn and I are friends.)

On her left ring finger, she has a magnet which is coated in silicone. It lets her feel magnetic fields, wires, and obviously, pick up some metal objects. (And no, she can't mess up hard-drives with it—it's not big enough.) 

More recently, she got a NTAG216 chip implant on a hand as well, which lets her do...well, whatever she programs it to do.

"I'm not sure what all the possibilities are," Quinn wrote on her blog. "I can tell you that I'm planning to make a game that integrates it, and I can lock and unlock my phone with it super easy as well as transmit data to other compatible NFC devices like Android phones."

Thanks KMA.

Yet more evidence that online MMRPG games are about more than just havin' fun.

But beyond the privacy concerns there are real concerns for physical harm as I noted in a Conversation piece last year.

 

This from a user:

"Well, one of biggest the dangers of Ingress is driving or stepping into harm's way while playing the game, and I know of at least one nasty car accident. And then there is the risk of losing your job or relationship or use of your thumb due to its addictive properties..."

Of course- we augment more than we can cope with and we might end up dead. 

Question: anyone want to talk about liability?

Source here

Poll taken as of 18 July 2014 indicates 53%|47% for|against technology is enslaving us.

poll for and against iq2.jpg


More information on attending the event here

City Recital Hall Angel Place
2 Angel Place
Sydney Australia

Tuesday, 12 August 2014 
6:45 -8:30 pm

Tickets available here

More on Ingress 

I first came across location based role playing games (LBRPG) when I was researching for an ISTAS11 presentation done via Skype.

More recently I wrote this article which touched on some of the issues of knowing when AR has gone too far- real, not real? Who knows... and that's the real problem!

Check out aimbot below... that video is not for the queezy...


"  "Seeing the game on top, I felt amazing," Nguyen recalls. Like everyone else, he was shocked by its meteoric rise – and the avalanche of money that would be wired into his bank account. Even with Apple and Google's 30 percent take, Nguyen estimated he was clearing $50,000 a day. Before long, Shuriken Block and a new game he had submitted called Super Ball Juggling joined Flappy Bird in the Top 10. But other than buying a new Mac, and taking his buddies out for rice wine and chicken hot pot, Nguyen wasn't much for indulging. "I couldn't be too happy," he says quietly. "I don't know why." Remarkably, he hadn't yet even bothered to tell his parents, with whom he lived. "My parents don't understand games," he explains.

As news hit of how much money Nguyen was making, his face appeared in the Vietnamese papers and on TV, which was how his mom and dad first learned their son had made the game. The local paparazzi soon besieged his parents' house, and he couldn't go out unnoticed. While this might seem a small price to pay for such fame and fortune, for Nguyen the attention felt suffocating. "It is something I never want," he tweeted. "Please give me peace."

But the hardest thing of all, he says, was something else entirely. He hands me his iPhone so that I can scroll through some messages he's saved. One is from a woman chastising him for "distracting the children of the world." Another laments that "13 kids at my school broke their phones because of your game, and they still play it cause it's addicting like crack." Nguyen tells me of e-mails from workers who had lost their jobs, a mother who had stopped talking to her kids. "At first I thought they were just joking," he says, "but I realize they really hurt themselves." Nguyen – who says he botched tests in high school because he was playing too much Counter-Strike – genuinely took them to heart." 

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For the full article visit here

Posted
AuthorKatina Michael

This morning I listened to the Dr Katherine Albrecht Show (see archive of 27 February 2014). Katherine was discussing the impact of video gaming on children. I watched this clip as a result of the program she aired.

Yesterday, Dr Albrecht appeared on George Noury's Coast to Coast program (see technology update here) and discussed the 'I want my iPad' phenomenon in toddlers. Here is another video she pointed to:

And another... She maintained that she would generally NOT wish for listeners to view these kinds of clips online but in this instance, it was the only way to raise awareness to an epidemic occurring in our society.

This phenomenon is a known phenomenon. See more. So what are we doing about it? Gathering the evidence and putting our kids online so that our Youtube hits increase ten-thousand fold?

I feel so sick in linking these videos of these kids up online in the uberveillance.com environment. But I am calling people out there to wake up to the what is occurring in most of our households. 

What is the answer? 

Better parenting?

Better friends and extended support groups?

Zero tolerance on screen time for toddlers?

Better education?

Schools saying 'no' to technology in the classroom?

Are we adding fuel to the fire?

 

What is blatantly obvious to me is that we need more research into SOLUTIONS. We can't have kids crying like this and profusely suffering anguish, and we cannot have parents surviving this kind of daily misery... and most of all we need to feedback these problems to developers... we cannot point the finger at Apple or Google alone... we need to point the finger at ourselves... society... yes 'we' perpetuate the problem. We can plead ignorance but we all know someone going through this- a child, a grandchild, a niece or nephew, a friend or a neighbour... in fact, we might be even going through it ourselves!

 

Where have we gone wrong?

Beyond that obvious point?

Why are the parents of these poor children putting their kids up online for everyone to comment on? Are they deep down seeking help? Do they want their prayers answered? Do they want to make their kids well?

We cannot claim ALL of these children appearing in thousands of uploads (just search online) are due to autism or some other mental illness or developmental problems! And if we claim that, are computers somehow contributing to these developmental issues?

The other thing that becomes apparent to me is the use of the mobile phone video camera as a weapon. Have we become so heartless, that we begin now to film these traumatic events and post them online for others to comment on. You were right on the mark Dr Albrecht. This is evil. Instead of going over and gently comforting our kids to return to their senses, we take out the camera to record the reality-tv... and so our children are now a part of a global theatre!

In previous posts, I have discussed the importance of NOT capturing these moments so we can allow our children to grow and develop, and not be held accountable for things they did as children. MG Michael and I have discussed the limits of watching. With Christine Perakslis we have also written an extensive book chapter on veillance (in press)! 

Can you imagine being one of the kids in this video? How would that make you feel 5 years on, 10 years on, 20 years on, or when you first discovered it was online for all to see on Youtube? Would you be typecast for life?

 

Everyone, we have to wake up! I am not being alarmist... if your heart doesn't feel sad over these videos then I personally don't know what to say...

And then we are contemplating taking Glass into the classroom? Right-o! Don't you think these tantrums don't happen at school? Will our children become "objects" not just "subjects" in the classroom? Let us tread VERY carefully. We can't use our kids as experiments. We need to think ethics.

And it is not just children that react this way... no... no... adults too, have this reaction but just convey it in a different way. See my article on high-tech lust!

We need to take the negative social implications of computers more seriously. Yes, some guys out there claim that computers can help kids... all my fellow collaborators and I are claiming is that the opposite is also true. Let's not be so narrowsighted. This is our future we are talking about!

"Companies like Entertainment Arts, said Taneja, also try to capture behavioral data about players, such as monitoring player activities around virtual goods, social interactions, in-game branding or merchandising and other key elements. One goal, he said, is to look for a game player’s total behavioral identity - not the identities that players enter in avatars or other self-expressing user activities, but how they behave within the game, in general. The implications here are important. Capturing this kind of data may very well help video game companies respond to player preferences and actions in real-time. However, in an age where any less than evident digital monitoring can be seen as a step toward more comprehensive "uberveillance," this kind of data mining is almost always a sensitive topic. Here, Taneja presents some sensible objectives behind this kind of monitoring. In-game "snooping," he says, can be a driver of game player accommodation and choice. Of course, it also can be another manifestation of how intensive personal data collection spooks consumers, just as it does in the world of e-commerce or social media."

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