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Augmented reality games are here, and if Pokémon Go’s popularity persists there soon may be facing a deluge of similar games.  Since the release of Pokémon Go, game participants have swamped public areas looking to “catch em all.”  Any seasoned New Yorker knows to look out for “phone zombies” on the sidewalks, and even come to expect it, but what about in private spaces, like your condo or coop building?

In addition to general trespass and privacy concerns, there are some real safety issues. Pokézombies have been wandering into off-limits properties and onto areas that can be dangerous when you’re distracted by your latest capture (a rooftop for instance).  For trespassing game players, it is easy enough to just kick them out of your building, but what if the user is a resident and otherwise has a right to be in the building?

Be Careful: Watch Your Step

If this is a real independent concern that is not already categorically addressed by other obvious rules or limitations (i.e. no running near the pool), management could distribute a notice that the building asks the game not be played in the building, especially in certain open, higher risk areas.

If the game is perceived as a large risk, it may be advisable to ask your building’s insurance carrier in writing if it feels a written warning should be sent to the building’s tenants.  Many existing rules can likely be utilized to abate the chaos caused by a growing swarm of Pokézombies in your building.  Noise restrictions can be employed when kids (or even adults) are wandering the halls, and restricting access to certain common areas like roofs and gyms can be enforced against underage tenants or during nights/evenings. Some buildings incorporate language into their bylaws restricting loitering in common rooms and interfering with staff duties.

That said, this may be a case of “easier said than done.”  If you don’t catch a gamer red-handed, how do you enforce these rules?  It’s too early to know the ultimate effect of these augmented reality games on society and public safety, but for the time being, encouraging caution can’t hurt.

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