Consumers are filing complaints about Pokemon Go with the federal government

Dozens of people feel the game is 'one of the most unsafe products' on the market.


Over 70 individuals have filed complaints with the FTC over Pokemon Go, most aimed at the game's microtransactions (via GameSpot).

"I had my account taken away from me without any warning or contact from Niantic. I have emailed them and sent in an appeal form against my ban," one individual wrote. "I would like to have all my money that I spent on their game refunded or my account returned to me so I can continue to play their game."

Other grievances pertain to PokeStops and gyms at inconvenient locations, such as Japan's Hiroshima memorial. "We have Pokemon Go players showing up at a house that does not play at all,” wrote one accuser. “We do not participate, downloaded etc. PLZ remove the address. for others that do. It appears that our gmail account was used incorrectly for others to participate and use this address.. It has cause [sic] anxiety (panic attacks) which causes physical intervention from Life Alert."

In some cases, Niantic has unplugged locations as points of interest in the game, such as the monument to Hiroshima in Japan and the National Holocaust Museum, where individuals playing the game disturbed those trying to pay their respects.

Still others want the game recalled due to safety concerns. "I almost killed a child today who was riding his bike and veered into the roadway holding his cell phone up. I have many friends and family member [sic] who report similar instances and I see on the news it is possible a death occurred due to this game and countless injuries and even attacks on those not paying attention to their surroundings. This has to be one of the most unsafe products out!"

As of August, at least three pedestrians had been struck and killed by automobiles due to being too caught up in playing Pokemon Go.

Those and other FTC filings came to light courtesy of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Polygon. Out of 72 complaints total, 56 targeted Pokémon Go developer Niantic; the request took aim at Nintendo and The Pokemon Company.

Granted, there's a low bar to filing a complaint with the FTC: anyone can file, but whether the entity will take any action against Niantic, Nintendo, or The Pokemon Company remains to be seen.

Despite setbacks like FTC complaints and dropping 79 percent of its active players since its launch in July, Pokemon Go is still riding a wave of success. Niantic announced net profits of $308 million in just two months, and is continuing to patch new features into the game such as a buddy system.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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