By Derrick Miller and Jamie Weston
Pokemon Go leads to increase in foot traffic
Norman businesses might be seeing an increase in foot traffic, thanks to the app Pokemon Go.
The app, which launched July 6 on the Apple App Store and Google Play, encourages participants to explore their areas, while trying to catch Pokemon creatures. The game, based on the 1998 animated series, is noted for increasing its players’ walking habits.
“It feels like you’re in the game, itself,” Daniel Moreno, University of Oklahoma senior, said. “You get to catch things you wish you could catch in real life.”
Moreno started playing Pokemon Go when it was first released, and has noticed himself walking more because of the game. In fact, he said he walks about 10,000 more steps a day when he plays the game than his usual routine, which includes a job as a campus tour guide. He said he already walks a lot for his job.
JT Teal, proprietor of Body Nutrition on Campus Corner, said his business has seen an increase in people stopping by and in sales because of Pokemon Go. Body Nutrition established a Pokemon Fitness Challenge to coincide with the game.
“We want to incorporate nutrition in their daily lives,” Teal said.
He said more people stop by the nutrition shop after seeing the challenge advertised on a sign just outside the business. The challenge includes a step counter and gives people opportunities to win prizes based on how many Pokemon they catch.
While in his business, people will try his products, he said.
“We do more shakes and teas,” Teal said.
He isn’t the only person who noticed an increase in foot traffic on and near the OU campus.
Moreno said he personally has gone to more locations because of the game.
Although Moreno doesn’t frequent Campus Corner, he goes there more often because of the game. He said he and his roommates sometimes make unscheduled stops while driving around Norman when Pokemon appear on their cell phone screens.
“It takes us longer to get places,” Moreno said.
But sometimes trying to “catch them all” isn’t worth the effort.
Incidences reported following release of Pokemon Go
Since Pokemon Go was released earlier this month, multiple news organizations have reported various incidences resulting from people walking in areas as they try to catch Pokemon.
On July 14, two people fell off a cliff near San Diego, Calif., after crossing a fenced area to get to Pokemon around the bluff. CNN reported both men were taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif.
Prior to that, Shayla Wiggins, a Wyoming teen, found a body near a river, while searching for water Pokemon, as reported by CNN.
Even the OU campus is not off limits when it comes to Pokemon-related incidences.
On Wednesday, The Oklahoma Daily reported an OU alum getting stuck inside the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium after hunting Pokemon.
Steven Zoeller, the freelance reporter who found himself stuck in the stadium, when on social media outlet Twitter to discuss the trouble he found himself in while hunting Pokemon.
Jamie Weston is an English and journalism teacher at Ada High School, and is the advisor for the Cougar Call.