While augmented reality games aren't anything new, 2016 was a big year as far as the genre was concerned. One of the more popular games in this category has been Pokémon GO, which has been no stranger to various issues manifesting in the real world like people wandering into New South Wales courthouses and even pedestrian deaths. With these incidents, Niantic has had its work cut out for it.
Now, Milwaukee County is taking aim at games such as Pokémon GO after crowds numbering in hundreds or even thousands descended upon Lake Park throughout the day. The situation created the knock-on effects of traffic congestion, unanticipated overtime for security resources, and a shortage of maintenance and cleaning resources. The situation became dire enough that the county had minimum-security inmates help assist with clean up activities.
In order to help tackle the problem and prevent reoccurrences in the future, the county has introduced a new ordinance that will require game developers to obtain a permit in order to host events in its parks, similar to traditional businesses. Depending upon demand for park resources and expected attendance, permits may cost anywhere between $100 to $1,000 with acquired funds put towards park maintenance and preparations. Unsurprisingly, if a company failed to obtain a permit, Milwaukee County Supervisor, Sheldon Wasserman, said that the county could initiate legal action.
However, not all were in favor of the new regulation, with Eddie Cullen, another county supervisor, expressing concern that people themselves should be responsible for their actions, and said:
"If a 'Pokemon Go' player litters or damages something in the parks, it should be the responsibility of the player, not the corporation to pay for damages."
Time will only tell whether or not the county's approach will facilitate all intended outcomes while supporting demand for its parks.