Officials Want Pokemon Go Developer to Restrict Pokestops

Members of the press corps hunt for some Pokemon on Monday in front of the Government House.

BANGKOK — After weeks being widely misrepresented as the company bringing Pokemon Go to Thailand, True Corp. has been summoned by the authorities for a meeting Tuesday to carry their concerns to the developer.

Seeming to know little about the subject, Thailand’s telecom regulators said Monday they’ll ask the conglomerate to take a message to the developer of the ferociously popular location-based game: Keep your “monsters” out of our sensitive areas.

“To let Pokemon appear in some spots is dangerous and infringes on other people’s rights, such as on roads or in hospitals, temples or the palace,” said Takorn Tantasith, secretary general of the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

The reaction comes as a number of nations have taken hardline stances against the popular game which has sent many players scouring the streets for Pokemon to capture. Iran on Friday became the first nation to ban it outright due to security concerns. On July 20, Indonesia banned all police and military from playing the game while on duty.

In Thailand, many news reports last month erroneously cited True as being responsible for bringing the game to Thailand in September. It launched Saturday and had nothing to do with the telecommunications company, which holds licenses for its intellectual property and has shown the program through its True Visions division.

Takorn didn’t seem particularly well-informed about the game, its workings or partnerships.

He acknowledged that although True isn’t directly responsible for the game, he said the company should cooperate with authorities because, he believes, it owns the right to publicize the game and is in contact with the game’s developer.

Despite lacking knowledge on the subject, Takorn said the phenomenon may not be a good fit for Thailand.

“The developer may think it’s fine in their country, but it needs to be adjusted when arriving here,” said Takorn, expressing his belief the locations used in the game were chosen through Google Maps by Japanese gaming company Nintendo, Co. Ltd. “For example, our sidewalks are a lot smaller compared to Japan.”

The game’s developer, Niantic, Inc., is in San Francisco.

The secretary also raised concerns that in-app purchases could cause problems for parents.

“Some Pokemon are 2,000 to 3,000 baht. If children aren’t aware of it, parents might have to pay expensive bills at the end of the month,” he said. “Also the app requires users to turn on the internet all the time, which will increase monthly charges.”

Those concerns aren’t entirely misplaced, as 2014’s hit game Cookie Run saw children run up bills in the hundreds of thousands of baht.

The commission will present its list of restricted areas at Tuesday’s meeting, where media will be present to join in the discussion and raise other fears about the game.

Takorn insisted he didn’t want to signal disapproval for the game, but he considered it the duty of the commission to oversee what he views as a worrying situation and warn consumers about it, saying he had studied Pokemon-related issues in other countries.


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