The “Pokemon Go” craze has sent legions of players hiking around cities and battling with “pocket monsters” on their smartphones.
Players search for Pokemon creatures and must move around to find more, using GPS location their phones. Pokeshops are also set up as stationary locations in real places near monuments and landmarks. But the game’s popularity has created unintended consequences in everyday life, from annoyed property owners dealing with hordes of monster hunters to store owners using the game to attract customers.
For businesses in the Valley near the predetermined Pokeshops, the increase in foot traffic has been both a blessing and a curse. Critical Threat Comics and Games in Tempe is using the app to bring in more business, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. The store is located on top of a Pokestop.
Critical Threat hosted a “Pokemon Hunt” that began at the store and went to Tempe Town Lake, attracting almost 4,000 interested people on Facebook. The store also is taking advantage of “lure modules,” an in-app purchase that attracts more Pokemon than normal to a Pokestop, with the store owner spending money to keep a steady stream of Pokemon available for customers.
The Phoenix Zoo plans to open an hour earlier starting Sunday to accommodate the gamers. The facility will open at 6 a.m. every day for the whole week.
However, some Arizona businesses are not happy about the influx of people wandering about staring at their phones.
The assistant director of security at Universal Protection in downtown Phoenix said people were sticking around buildings longer or trip and fall when looking down at the app.
It’s also harder for the company to determine when real threats are happening because of all the people traveling in circles around the block.
However, social media specialist Desiree Martinez advises business owners located near Pokestops to embrace the app as a low-cost way to advertise.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.