Minister of Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said on Sunday (July 24) that the government will monitor popular mobile app game, “Pokémon Go” and study how it is being played and its impact on society.
The minister was answering questions to the media, about any guidelines for the game at the National Deaf Games at the Singapore Badminton Hall.
This game uses the smartphone GPS to reflect locations in the real world in its virtual map, which have been tailored for certain purposes in the game.
The research firm SensorTower said that the game topped 30 million downloads worldwide by last Tuesday, and it had become the fastest mobile game to reach the million download mark. While Apple had confirmed on July 22 that the game was downloaded more times during its first week than any other app in the Apple’s Store’s history.
This game has been officially launched in more than 35 countries, while those in Singapore are still waiting for the official launch of the game in the country.
According to the media reports, the game has caused many problems, from criminal trespass to traffic accidents as players hunt for the characters.
Mr Yaacob said that the launch of the game must not harm lifestyles or the way things have been done in the country, “We have to study very, very carefully whatever that is brought into Singapore. We will monitor the situation, how this particular game is being played and its impact on society.”
He added, “And if it’s really something which we should be concerned about I think MDA (the Media Development Authority) will definitely decide on what are the things we can do best, if the game is really needed here, how… we can do it in such a way that it becomes a win-win situation.”
Indonesian officials had called the game security threat and had banned the game to be played inside the Government buildings.
Franz Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Federal Council’s Committee on Defense of Russia, commented about the game, “There’s the feeling that the Devil has arrived through this mechanism, and he’s simply trying to ruin us spiritually, from within.”
In Turkey, Mehmet Bayraktutar, head of the union, stated that Pokemon Go “undermines the prominence and significance of mosques, which are the most beautiful worship places in Islam.” He said that he want the game to be banned referring to how some of the games are located within mosques.
Saudi Arabia had also banned the game, while Egypt banned this game on July 14 and said that the game “negatively influences the mind and harms the player or others without being aware of that”.