Pokemon Go fans urged to stay safe as gaming craze hits the Capital
Pokemon Go fans warned after they climb Arthur's Seat
Pokemon Go players are being warned to stay safe amid concerns about accidents at gaming hot spots such as Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh Castle.
Thousands have taken to Princes Street Gardens and other parks and public spaces in a rush to play the mobile game, which has just had its British release.
Hailed as the most popular app ever in the United States, Pokemon Go allows players to use an interactive map as they roam around, using their phone’s GPS location data to “catch” cartoon characters.
These are then trained for online fantasy “battles” in which they deploy special skills and powers to defeat rivals.
Despite the game’s success, concerns have been raised about the app’s safety, amid fears fans are playing it in dangerous locations and concerns over the potential for child exploitation. Scotland has asked players to “take care” while they are outside. The warning follows reports of Pokemon players engrossed in their phones at the top of Arthur’s Seat.
A spokesman for the agency said: “We’re aware that areas within Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Park are amongst a number of locations across the city that feature icons or points of interest from the mobile gaming app, Pokemon Go.
“Whilst we appreciate the popularity of the game, in the interest of health and safety we would advise users to fully consider their surroundings and take care and show due diligence if playing in public spaces such as Holyrood Park.”
Bosses at children’s charity the NSPCC are also worried criminals could target unsuspecting children by using the app’s geolocation feature.
In a statement, they said: “Pokemon Go is setting a precedent as the most successful reality game app on the market. It’s deeply troubling that the app’s owners have ignored many warning signals and well documented child safety concerns.”
The main aim of the game is to catch Pokemon figures which “pop up” while players follow the map.
The app provides an augmented reality experience, using a smartphone’s camera to provide a live view of the world on which Pokemon are superimposed.
Any Pokemon caught can be used in battle against other players in ‘gyms’ based at real-world landmarks such as the Castle and Arthur’s Seat.
Daisy Wei and Tiffany Wang, both 24, were enjoying playing Pokemon in Princes Street Gardens yesterday afternoon.
Daisy said: “I can’t stop playing it, it’s so cool. We love the cartoon aspect of it.”
Gary Chan, 19, from Liberton, and Ian Connolly, 20, from Blackford, were also Pokemon hunting around the city.
Gary said: “I’ve played the game all the way from Cameron Toll into Princes Street, it’s just so addictive. We’ve been Pokemon fans for years so this is a really big deal for us.”
The game has added millions to the value of Nintendo, which part-owns the franchise.