Two professors from Purdue University have published a study (via Gizmodo) that suggests Pokémon GO has caused as many as 145,000 traffic accidents. The study, titled Death by Pokémon GO was based on statistics from one county in Indiana between March 1st, 2015, and November 30th, 2016. Pokémon GO was released in July of 2016, earning some 100 million downloads in its first month alone. The game was the breakout hit for augmented reality, and millions of fans scoured the city and countrysides looking for Pokémon to capture for fighting. The study found an increase in traffic accidents corresponding to the increase in players, as well as a corresponding decrease as the game waned. They specifically attributed a half million dollars in vehicle damage, 31 accidents, and two deaths in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, to the game. Scaling the data upwards to encompass the whole professors offered “speculative” findings that the game led to more than 145,000 accidents, 29,000 injuries, and 256 deaths, and that was just in a five month period. Which is interesting considering that augmented reality is just getting going. Society has a long period of adjustment coming as we learn how to deal with both augmented and virtual realities being a daily part of our lives.
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