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Pokémon Go: Benefits, Costs, and Lessons for the Conservation Movement

Dorward, LJ; Mittermeier, JC; Sandbrook, C; Spooner, F; (2017) Pokémon Go: Benefits, Costs, and Lessons for the Conservation Movement. Conservation Letters , 10 (1) pp. 160-165. 10.1111/conl.12326. Green open access

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Abstract

Pokémon Go, an augmented reality (AR) smartphone game, replicates many aspects of real‐world wildlife watching and natural history by allowing players to find, capture, and collect Pokémon, which are effectively virtual animals. In this article, we consider how the unprecedented success of Pokémon Go as a smartphone game might create opportunities and challenges for the conservation movement. By encouraging players to go outside and consider various aspects of virtual species’ biology, the game could increase awareness and engagement with real‐world nature. However, interacting with Pokémon could alternatively encourage exploitation of wildlife or replace players’ desire to interact with real‐world nature. We suggest a number of ways in which Pokémon Go could be adapted to increase its conservation impact, and how new conservation‐orientated AR games could be created. We conclude that Pokémon Go sets a precedent for well‐implemented AR games from which the conservation movement could borrow a number of ideas.

Type: Article
Title: Pokémon Go: Benefits, Costs, and Lessons for the Conservation Movement
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/conl.12326
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12326
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Augmented reality, biodiversity, citizen science, conservation, natural history, nature deficit disorder, Pokémon, smartphone, technology, video games
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10079617
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