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The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Yash Acharya 
August 26, 2016


Scenario 1 – At a retail clothing store: I saw a sign outside that read, “If you catch a Pokémon in our store, you get an additional 10 percent off.” A crowd of people entered the store to catch a Pokémon and get the extra discount.

Scenario 2 – At a social services agency: A hotline worker receives a case. A teenage boy was robbed and beaten in one of the alleyways. The teenager went into that alley to catch a Pokémon.

Scenario 3 – At a Fast-food restaurant: I was standing in line to order some food. A teenage boy bumps into the line, while glued to his phone, and tries to run to the kitchen. He was stopped by the cashier and they got into a fight. The local police was summoned. He wanted to catch a Pikachu.

Games: Real World, Virtual World….PokéWorld

Until recently, there were two types of games: real word and virtual world.

Real world games – For centuries, children have been playing real world games such as basketball, football and soccer at public parks, backyards or driveways. While children are playing these games, parents have been concerned and cautious about the physical injuries. However, these games helped individuals build physical and mental capabilities.

Virtual world games – Technology brought in a series of console based games. These games are generally played on television based consoles, phones, tablets, computers, etc. There have been several studies where parents and governments are concerned about the impacts of these virtual world games on individuals such as stress on brains when playing war related games and obesity due to lack of physical activity.


Games like “Pokémon Go” have taken a first step into merging the real world with the virtual world. I call these the “PokéWorld Games.” For the players, these games have created a means of getting gamers who were playing virtual world games indoors to step outside their houses, walk in the park, get some physical exercise, etc. However, these games have also created a variety of troubles around personal security—such as walking into unsafe neighborhoods or trying to enter a fast-food restaurant—and public inconveniences to people while walking on the sidewalk.

Something To Think About

With the “PokéWorld Games,” communities, businesses and governments have to evolve their way of doing business, providing social services and maintaining safety and security for the public.

PokéNomics: In Scenario 1, businesses have started to evolve by adopting the PokéWorld games and trying to incentivize the players of such games to attract them into purchasing their goods and services. But why not use the power of these games to do more?

–        Partner with the gaming companies and instill more Pokémon objects in your own business area or location or store. A step further could be for businesses to have in-app purchases, alongside the game, to encourage shoppers to play and shop.

–        Use objects such as Pokémon as alternative currencies for the PokéWorld Gaming companies. Get the businesses to share am agreed upon portion of the revenues for the sales that were purchased using these objects.

–        Provide reward points in Pokémon type of objects so that you’re collecting those objects as a part of your purchases. For governments to maybe think about revenue collections in form of taxes around these types of reward points.

PokéSocial: Scenario 2 is a real world example. Governments will have to start getting creative.

–        Train their social workers to be proactive about handling investigations around these types of cases.

–        Educate families around the impacts of these games and distribute materials and information on the do’s and don’ts while playing these games.

–        Perform predictive data analysis around the age group of people, prime locations, times of the days and alert/allocate resources accordingly for hotline workers, in-field social workers, etc.

shield-1376178_640PokéSafety: With the violence and situations around the world, public safety has become one of the most critical responsibilities of the government. Scenario 3 is a not so severe situation. However, it is an example of something governments must start to explore by:

–        Partnering with gaming companies to obtain data around the placement of objects and recommending times when objects should or should not appear.

–        Performing predictive risk analysis, working with the social services agencies and the gaming companies, to deploy public safety officials into high risk areas so that gamers can safely play.

–        Most importantly, developing rules and regulations around incidents where an individual playing a game jumps onto a busy road to catch the Pokémon object and gets severely injured. Who’s at fault? Who’s going to pay the hospital bills?

With complex games like Pokémon Go, comes complicated situations, multifaceted changes to policy, procedures, practices and human behaviors. It also brings systemic change in the way businesses and governments have interacted with each other, operated internally and shared information. It’s something to think about!

Author: CreativeTechNerdie – Yash Acharya is a director within KPMG LLP’s State and Local Government Practice, with a focus on assisting governments with business transformation initiatives. Thinker, coffee fanatic and government transformation passionist. Yash’ s column shares innovative ideas, thoughts and real world challenges for government, companies and the public to think about where we want to go next. Views expressed are his own.

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One Response to PokéGovernment

  1. Luv Bhatt Reply

    August 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Another marvelous article, Yash. I really love the simplicity through which you explain the complex situations. Also, how can we capitalize on these by being proactive instead of being reactive .

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