Toronto’s interest in Pokemon GO surges even before game’s Canadian release
A close-up view of a gamer playing the Pokemon Go app on the Grote Markt in Haarlem, The Netherlands, in an image dated July 13, 2016. The game, that uses the GPS to locate the smartphone's location, has gained a huge popularity among smartphone users and added to the value of Nintendo that partly owns the franchise enterprise that makes Pokemon. EPA/REMKO DE WAAL
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Thursday, July 14, 2016 12:53PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 14, 2016 4:35PM EDT
The fact that the wildly popular virtual reality smartphone game Pokemon GO has not yet been officially released in Canada doesn’t seem to be stopping its viral popularity here.
Google search interest in Canada for “Pokemon” since the game’s U.S. and Australian release on July 6 had surpassed search interest in social media favourites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat by Tuesday, the company says.
On a local level, Toronto is tied for sixth with Amsterdam in terms of the level of Google search interest for Pokemon GO in the entire world, ahead of cities such as Singapore, Chicago and Sydney.
Quezon City, Philippines, is first.
Toronto police traffic services Const. Clint Stibbe says they have not encountered any instances of Pokemon GO players wandering out into traffic or onto rail tracks, unlike Pennsylvania and The Netherlands where players have been found doing both.
“This may change once the game is officially released in Canada,” Stibbe said in an email.
OPP West Region spokesperson Sgt. Dave Rektor posted a video on Wednesday, urging users of “augmented reality” games such as Pokemon GO to watch where they are going.
Rektor said police want the public to be wary of “anything that takes your attention away from your driving or if you’re on a bike, cycling, or if you’re walking.”
“We want to prevent you from entering into the path of traffic.”
A Brooklyn-based gaming website called Equity Arcade even released a Pokemon GO distracted driving ad:
The PSA prompted a response from Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca:
Interestingly, the absolute top worldwide search query on Google for Pokemon GO is “Pokemon APK,” referring to a popular “mirror” website that allows users in countries where the game has not yet been officially released, such as Canada.
A massive Pokemon GO meetup, where players can catch creatures en masse, is being organized at the CN Tower for whenever the game is formally released in Canada.