Video games in general have been stereotyped to be somewhat negative for society. For one, it has been accused as cause of violence among teenagers, which until now is still subject for debate. Then here comes Pokemon Go which is tagged as a menace when it comes to preserving public landmarks and private properties. This article will try to lighten things up by reporting that the AR game phenomenon has something positive to contribute towards preserving biodiversity.
According to Science Daily, a new research paper from Oxford and Cambridge universities along with the University College London and UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre studies about Pokemon Go's ability in getting people outside their homes and interact with creatures that aren't really there. Now this concept could be emulated to compensate as what seems to be a decline in interest for the 'normal' animals. Using this idea, Pokemon Go trainers may just have been sub-consciously trained not to hurt real world animals and nature in general, and ultimately appreciate them.
The study's author, Leejiah Dorward from Oxford University under the Zoology Department, says that when Pokemon Go was rolled out, one of the most noticeable things observed was it has similarities with majority of natural history and conservation concepts. Basic information and facts about the VR game seems that it is a successful science project rather than a casual smartphone game.
"When Pokémon Go first came out, one of the most striking things was its similarity with many of the concepts seen in natural history and conservation. The basic facts and information about Pokémon Go make it sound like an incredibly successful citizen science project, rather than a smartphone game."
Dorward also added that they want to explore how Pokemon Go's huge success be converted to ideas about the conservation movement.
The study's co-author, John Mittermeier from the same school under Geography and the Environment, says that there is a general belief that attention to natural history is declining and people are gradually becoming less interested in going outdoors to explore nature. Mittermeier also added that Pokemon Go is only a step away from 'normal' nature activities such as insect collecting or bird watching. He also expressed that, "Pokémon exist as 'real' creatures that can be spotted and collected, and the game itself has been getting people outdoors. What's going on here, and can we as conservationists take advantage of it?"
On perspective as a gamer
First of all, I am astonished by this study as it proves to be in goodwill and aims to conserve the earth as we know it. True, that Pokemon Go got everyone's butts up and lured everyone to go outside. Seldom you see people nowadays that are going out in the wild to have fun. Probably the main reason is just being paranoid about safety.
Pokemon Go has successfully ruled in takings its players outside their homes and explore nature once again, be it consciously or not, everyone is back outside playing. I really hope that their study would reach Niantic so that they can do a joint project together on how to conserve our natural world. Ideas such as the Thanksgiving Event can be applied into something to hook up with birds migrating, with Pokemon spawns increasing in areas where the birds usually take path. One good idea is probably adding more PokeStops to Zoos and other spots of natural history interest.