Australian police warns Pokemon Go players about personal safety as game demand spikes

The game allows players to capture, battle, train, and trade virtual Pokemon who "appear" throughout the real world.
The game allows players to capture, battle, train, and trade virtual Pokemon who "appear" throughout the real world.PHOTO: NIANTIC LABS

Amid rampant demand for the new Pokemon mobile game that challenges players to venture into the real world to "catch 'em all", police in Australia have issued a friendly bit of advice.

The Pokemon Go game, the first of the popular Japanese monster-collecting franchise to hit both the iOS and Android platforms, uses augmented reality to place creatures and items in real locations, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Tokyo's Shinjuku station and a police station in Darwin, Australia.

This has caused a headache for the police station, as people have apparently tried to enter it to collect "Poke Balls", which allow users to catch the famed Pokemon creatures.

In a Facebook post which has garnered over 16,000 likes and 4,000 shares since Wednesday (July 6), the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services advised players that "you don't actually have to step inside in order to gain the Poke Balls".

It also called on them to "look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street", adding that the game's mythical Sandshrew creature "isn't going anywhere fast".

The game allows players to capture, battle, train, and trade virtual Pokemon who "appear" throughout the real world.

It encourages people to "switch between the virtual world and the real world" while using their smartphones, which could potentially cause danger.

Pokemon Go went live in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan on Wednesday, causing servers to crash as fans rushed to download the free app.

The game, developed by Ingress makers Niantic Labs, shot to the top of the charts on Apple's App store overnight.