Pokemon Go, le jeu gratuit et numérique basé sur les animaux mythiques à la myriade de formes et de pouvoirs inventés par le japonais Nintendo il y a vingt ans, est devenu un phénomène en moins d

Players around the world caught up in Pokémon Go fever

Paris (AFP) – Entering a minefield, crossing the street without looking, or entering a forbidden zone, Pokémon Go fans are ready to do anything to catch Pikachu et al. A virtual hunt with very real consequences, which takes teenagers and thirtysomethings to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

After hunting these pocket monsters on their consoles, players can now capture them on their smartphones thanks to augmented reality, a technology that makes virtual elements appear in the real world.

“By touching several generations, from the nostalgic who knew the birth of Pokémon in 1996 to the youngest, this game manages to reach a colossal mass of players and has the assets to become the reference in virtual reality,” explained to AFP Laurent Michaud, head of the digital leisure pole at the Idate ideas laboratory.

The phenomenon is such that the authorities of many countries are trying to prevent risks to focus too much on its screen. On social networks, police forces around the world recall the basic safety rules in public space.

And for good reason, the search for little monsters with their eyes on the phone screen has led to unexpected situations.

In Indonesia, a Frenchman was arrested after entering a military base while playing “Pokémon Go” and was interrogated for several hours before being released.

In Bosnia, players were warned to avoid minefields, legacies of the intercommunal war that affected the country between 1992 and 1995.

In Japan, while the game is not yet available but already highly anticipated, the government has released a good practice leaflet to educate children about the risks that may be related to Pokémon Go, reminding them not to play it on bicycles or not to venture into dangerous places.

And Saudi Arabia goes even further: the most important religious body there has again issued a fatwa dating from 2001 banning games featuring Pokemon, considering them as gambling, banned in Islam, and vectors of propagation of the Darwinian theory of evolution.

The Israeli navy prefers to play the game by publishing a photo of its forces capturing a Pokémon in the open sea, with the mention: “There are Pokemon that only we can catch”. On the Palestinian side, in a widely relayed tweet, we see Pikachu emerge from the rubble of a house in Gaza.

– Not recommended by bike –

If it is still only available in forty countries, the impatient have found the parade to bypass the restriction and now a large part of the planet plays it. As in France, where the national gendarmerie has already tweeted advice to Pokemon “trainers”: “Drivers, do not play PokemonGo” and “Pedestrians, redouble attention”.

A phenomenon that Jean-Claude Ghinozzi, president of the syndicat des éditeurs de logiciels de loisirs (SELL) describes as” exceptional”, with a”massive adoption of a technology by the general public”.

“We are clearly surprised by the speed of adoption by the general public. A game such as Candy Crush (game for mobile, EDITOR’s NOTE) took several months before taking off, here we are on a matter of days simply”, added Mr. Ghinozzi.

Behind this success lies Pokémon Company but also the Japanese group Nintendo, whose machines have so far hosted all games of this brand and which is a shareholder of Pokémon Company.

If the share of revenues that will ultimately come back to Nintendo is unknown, investors favor the company’s stock on the Tokyo Stock Exchange: since the release of Pokémon Go, its price has more than doubled even if it is still significantly lower than it was at the height of the global success of its Wii console in 2007/2008.

It remains to manage the security risks, because the success of the game has also attracted the attention of hackers, who have already claimed, according to the Russian cyber-security specialist Kaspersky, several attacks on Nintendo’s servers, already in high demand.

“Nintendo servers have already experienced a number of traffic-related problems and their attackers are fully aware that the company cannot afford to have down or inactive servers,” said David Emm, security researcher at Kaspersky.

For the sector more broadly, the interest is in the long term because “thanks to the playful side, the questions related to the intrusion into privacy are put aside, Pokémon Go participates in the acceptability of all these technologies”, predicts Simon Richir, scientific director of Laval Virtual, the main French exhibition dedicated to virtual and augmented reality.

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