Australian Council on Children and the Media

Pokemon Go! (2019) - Niantic

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Short takes

This app is an augmented reality game where players aim to catch virtual Pokémon at real life locations. Not suitable for children 8 and under, parental guidance for 9 – 15 due to GPS tracking, in-app purchasing and public safety.

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No gambling content found in the levels played

This review of Pokemon Go! (2019) was completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 31 May 2019.

About the app

This section contains details about the app provided by an ACCM Reviewer.

Name of app: Pokemon Go! (2019)
Developed by: Niantic
Platform reviewed: Apple App Store
Cost: Free
Developer’s suggested age: 9+ for Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence.
ACCM suggested age: PG 9 -15 due to GPS tracking, in-app purchasing and public safety.
Gambling content advice: No gambling content found in the levels played

ACCM review

This review of Pokemon Go! (2019) contains the following information:

The level to which the game was reviewed

Played for several weeks.

App description

Pokémon Go! builds on the Pokémon “catch-em all if you can” franchise. Upon opening the app, players are shown where virtual Pokémon are in real life locations (e.g., the park, shopping centre entrances, etc). This includes a digital map of your immediate area and also actual photos of nearby landmarks. Players must physically go to those locations and catch the Pokémon by swiping towards it and catching them in the Pokeball. The aim of the game is to collect as many Pokémon as possible and add them to your “Pokedex” collection. 

Reviewers comments

At a glance, many may assume that getting kids outside and walking is probably a good thing. However, there is a lot here for parents to be concerned about. Most importantly, as the app shares locations with all nearby users, it would be relatively common to bump into other unknown players at the same time. This is particularly evident through features which countdown to specific times when a Pokémon will appear there. The current reviewer tested this aspect and travelled to the entrance of a nearby shopping centre. There he found a group of people standing around waiting for the Pokémon to appear. Most of these people were adults and some were teenagers. It is a concerning aspect to consider that all community members with access to this app can know where children might be at a given time. Hence, it is highly recommended that adults accompany their children whilst playing this game in the community.

In App purchasing

There is In-App purchasing in this game, examples include:

  • 100 PokéCoins = $0.99
  • 550 PokéCoins = $7.99
  • 1,200 PokéCoins = $14.99
  • 2,500 PokéCoins = $30.99
  • 5,200 PokéCoins = $62.99
  • 14,500 PokéCoins = $159.99

Online information

There is some online connectivity, such as:

  • GPS Tracking – accesses your location.
  • Accesses your contact information.
  • Accesses your media, files and photos.
  • Accesses your camera and microphone.

Gambling

At the time of review, the reviewer found no simulated gambling content. If you discover simulated gambling content in this app, please contact us with the details so we can update our review.

Advertising and product placement

There is no advertising or product placement in this game.

Gender stereo types and sexual references

None noted. 

Coarse language

None noted. 

Game playing behaviour which may be of concern to some parents

Please see reviewer’s comments above.

Also, it is suggested that parents read the Terms and Conditions. This is pretty lengthy and contains legal jargon. However, there are some websites that break it into plain English. In short, the terms and conditions appear to protect the developers from being sued.

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About our colour guide

Content is age appropriate for children this age

Some content may not be appropriate for children this age. Parental guidance recommended

Content is not age appropriate for children this age

Gambling content advice

Simulated casino style gambling. Not suitable for minors

Contains some elements of gambling. Some content is not recommended for minors. Parental guidance recommended

No gambling content found in the levels played

About games and gambling

Most games contain elements of risk, chance and knowledge, that is why they are fun to play. There is growing concern about the impacts of simulated gambling games on the health and wellbeing of children. That's why we are identifying games that contain gambling elements on our site.

The State Government of South Australia's web site http://nogame.com.au/ contains information about these concerns.