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Last summer’s Pokemon Go phenomenon introduced millions of people to the potential of location-based augmented reality games, but not everyone was thrilled about how the game transformed real-world locations into mobile game hotspots.
One county in particular has taken action to ensure game developers help foot the bill for damages caused by AR game-driven influxes in foot traffic.
According to the Journal Sentinel, the Milwaukee County Board has approved an ordinance that requires developers to obtain a permit before geotagging in-game locations within county parks.
If this ordinance stands and if other counties and property owners decide to emulate it, location-based AR game development could become a more expensive process, and potentially a legal minefield.
The county’s primary complaints seem to lie in the fact that they were not notified that park monuments would become high traffic Pokestops within Niantic’s game, and that the sudden influx of park visitors caused thousands of dollars in damage to the park. Neighbors to Milwaukee County’s Lake Park say that Pokemon Go players trampled turf, left trash throughout the space, and caused undue traffic congestion.
The ordinance notes that players of the mobile games won’t be restricted from public parks, but that developers with location-based AR games are responsible for obtaining a permit before including county park locations in Milwaukee county state parks.