Dutch authorities take Pokemon Go makers to court

The US makers have failed to meet pleas by authorities to remove the game from protected beaches in a small coastal village south of The Hague.
Pokemon Go players gather at a beach in Kijkduin on August 10, 2016. Remko de Waal/EPA
Pokemon Go players gather at a beach in Kijkduin on August 10, 2016. Remko de Waal/EPA

THE HAGUE // Dutch authorities are taking the US makers of Pokemon Go to court, after the company failed to meet pleas to stop hordes of fans flocking to protected beaches.

Since the game was launched in The Netherlands, thousands of fans have been crowding the vast, windswept beaches of Kijkduin where hundreds of the game’s most popular cartoon monsters spawn daily.

The smartphone app uses satellite locations, graphics and the phone’s camera capabilities to overlay the cartoon monsters onto real-world settings.

But the small coastal village of Kijkduin, south of The Hague, has been inundated with players, triggering concern for the protected dunes surrounding the beaches.

The authorities now “want to ban these small virtual animals in protected areas and in the streets from 11pm to 7am,” the municipality said.

The case will be heard before a court in The Hague on October 11.

“Kijkduin will remain an attractive place for Pokemon hunters, but there will be less trouble for the residents and the damage to protected areas will be limited,” the municipality added.

The Hague authorities have been trying to contact the game’s makers, Niantic, since mid-August but without success. “We had no other choice” but to go to court, said the municipality.

The Pokemon Company, which licenses the franchise, said in August that Niantic was centralising all the requests to withdraw the game from areas, or add new pokestops where gamers can boost their hauls. When the app was updated it would withdraw monsters from some areas.

The most recent update saw the Hiroshima and Berlin Holocaust memorials disappear as Pokemon landmarks. In Poland, the former concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which is today a museum, has also asked to be withdrawn from the game.

* Agence France-Presse

Published: September 29, 2016 04:00 AM

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