Government will monitor impact of Pokemon Go on society: Yaacob

A man shows his Pokemon Go game application on his mobile phone in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on July 20, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - While Singapore fans of Pokemon Go cannot wait for the game to be launched here, the Singapore Government has said it will monitor the game's impact on society.

The game, which has taken the world by storm, uses augmented reality technology to allow players to "see" virtual Pokemon characters as they view their surroundings through their smartphone cameras.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim gave his comments in response to questions on Sunday (July 24) about whether the Government would introduce any guidelines for the game, given that it has caused problems in other countries, from criminal trespass to traffic accidents as players hunt for the characters.

"We have to study very, very carefully whatever that is brought into Singapore," he said, stressing that it must not harm lifestyles or the way things have been done here.

Prof Yaacob was speaking to reporters at the National Deaf Games at the Singapore Badminton Hall.

"We will monitor the situation, how this particular game is being played and... its impact on society," he added.

"And if it's really something which we should be concerned about I think MDA (the Media Development Authority) will definitely decide on what are the things we can do best, if the game is really needed here, how... we can do it in such a way that it becomes a win-win situation."

Pokemon Go is already available officially in more than 35 countries.

Japan, where the game was launched last Friday, has already issued a safety guide warning of heat stroke, dubious strangers and other risks.

Indonesian officials have even called the game a security threat, while some in Egypt and Russia have claimed that the game is a plot by spy agencies.

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