As technology changes, so must community associations adapt. On July 6, 2016, Nintendo and software developer, Niantic, released the new cellular phone game called, “Pokémon Go.” In the United States alone, an estimated 21,000,000 individuals use the application daily. During the inaugural week, Nintendo’s stock value increased by 120%. While there has been some retreat in valuation, at less than a month old, Pokémon Go became one of the most profitable and most popular games in history.
The defining characteristic of the game is a required physical mobility to progress. To win the game, a player must “catch” all 150 Pokémon. The application’s map shows the location of any Pokémon in the nearby area. Because it is not likely that the most valuable Pokémon are located in a player’s home, the player must physically get up and walk to reach their destination and to “catch” them.
Not only must these individuals capture Pokémon, but they must also visit Pokéstops. A Pokéstop provides all the necessary items to advance to the next level. Most of the stops are real life landmarks, and it can take up to ten (10) minutes to “receive” all the items offered at any one stop.
While the game’s demand for mobility encourages physical activity, some homeowners associations are already experiencing challenges as a result. In order to catch Pokémon, individuals are entering private community associations, often in groups since part of the fun is playing the game with friends. The time necessary to catch the necessary items located at Pokéstops can cause loitering if a Pokéstop is located within an association.
If your community association is experiencing large numbers of people entering the property because of a Pokéstop location, you may request to remove the Pokéstop’s coordinates from your premises. Go to: https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/hc/en-us/articles/222249687-What-can-we-help-you-with.
The Pokémon Go player trainer guidelines state that users must abide by the pertinent law: “Please do not trespass, or in any manner gain or attempt to gain access to any property or location where you do not have the right or permission to be.” If the request to remove a Pokéstop does not resolve the matter, associations may have recourse through trespass and nuisance laws.