Have you ever woken up to discover you own a Pokemon gym? That’s the dream for a lot of us, but it’s causing trouble for one bloke, thanks to Pokemon GO.
Boon Sheridan of Massachusetts lives in a converted church from the 1800’s (below). As such, Pokemon GO seems to consider his home enough of a point of interest to be turned a gym.
As Pokemon GO is an AR mobile game that encourages people to get out of the house and visit these gyms in order to train at them, poor Mr Sheridan has inevitably had folk showing up, standing outside his house for five to ten minutes, then leaving again.
Mr Sheridan’s house hasn’t actually been a church for over 40 years now, but it would seem that developer Niantic is using an older map that doesn’t have it down as a home.
It very much seems like all Mr Sheridan can do at this point is roll with it…
It’ll be interesting to see how much fun it is when people are rolling up at all hours.
— Boon Sheridan (@boonerang) July 10, 2016
Our unwilling owner discovered that it’s possible for some people to sit in a park across from the house to be seen as being in the gym. But it still meant that cars were regularly pulling up outside of his house so that their phone would log their location.
He also noted that Pokemon GO driving traffic through normally quiet residential areas could upset some people – though for the most part Mr Sheridan himself seems relatively chilled about the whole thing for now.
These cats figured it out, the bench in the park across the street is close enough to be ‘in’ the gym. pic.twitter.com/HAlVp84cd6Advertisement
— Boon Sheridan (@boonerang) July 9, 2016
But Pokemon GO has now managed to open a family size can of worms in terms of privacy, trespassing, and even house value.
Mr Sheridan posts that having people coming through at all hours could cause issues with neighbours, and cause the value of his home to down.
Although I can’t see Pokemon GO being big for long enough for the latter to really be a problem, you have to wonder if Mr Sheridan has the right to have his house removed as a gym. Certainly, it seems like he should be able to.
Do I even have rights when it comes to a virtual location imposed on me? Businesses have expectations, but this is my home.
— Boon Sheridan (@boonerang) July 10, 2016Advertisement
However, it transpires that at the moment, Niantic only allow people to report locations if they present ‘immediate physical danger’.
Considering many parts of the US have laws that actually allow people to kill trespassers, the game could well have ‘immediate physical’ consequences for players.
Hell, it turns out that there are already armed robbers using the game to try and trick anyone out on a Pokemon journey.
After all, I cant imagine that Boon Sheridan’s is the only newfound (baffled) owner of a Pokemon gym, and I’d bet there are much less forgiving folk out there who are now in possession of one.