Pokemon no-go: Niantic disables gameplay in moving vehicles worldwide

People play Pokemon Go on Aug 20, 2016 in Lillo, Belgium.
People play Pokemon Go on Aug 20, 2016 in Lillo, Belgium.PHOTO: AFP

Drivers and passengers can no longer play popular augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go.

The game's service provider Niantic Inc disabled gameplay at driving speed for all players around the world from Monday (Nov 7). The move comes after a series of traffic accidents and deaths were linked to drivers being distracted by the game, reported Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. 

"We responded based on a wide range of opinions we received," an official from the Japanese public relations office of Niantic said.

According to the the San Francisco-based company, players are no longer able to spin Pokestops if they are moving at more than a certain speed. Pokestops are places in the game that allows one to collect items such as eggs and more Pokeballs to capture more Pokemon.

Users can collect game items by swiping the screen at Pokestops, but with the change, the swiping motion will not have any effect.

Niantic has not disclosed what the speed limit is, according to Asahi Shimbun. 

 
 
 

Safety measures to ensure people did not simultaneously drive and play the game existed in previous versions. However, it was just a warning screen that could be bypassed by selecting the option "I'm a passenger."

After an October update, Pokemon no longer appeared in the game if the player was moving at driving speed, but Pokestops had still been accessible.

Traffic accidents caused by drivers distracted by the game havekilled three people in Japan as of Oct 27. In the latest case, which occurred on Oct 26, a nine-year-old boy was killed in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, when he was hit by a truck operated by a man who was playing the game.