Makers of augmented reality games like Pokémon Go must apply for a permit to place their virtual monsters on public property in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, thanks to a new county ordinance. The popular game and its imitators have led to unprecedented foot-traffic in Milwaukee County parks, and more park use means more trash, dirtier bathrooms, and a busier schedule for local police.
"We're prepared for all of them now," said Milwaukee County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman, who wrote the ordinance that will require game developers like Niantic, the makers of Pokémon Go, to apply for event permits if their apps place digital attractions on public land. Wasserman says the county will take legal action against game makers that do not comply, enforcing fines of up to $1,000.
Critics argue the ordinance is a misplaced punishment. "If someone crashes their car while using [Google Maps], it's not Google Maps' responsibility to pay for the damages. That falls on the user," said County Supervisor Eddie Cullen, who opposed the rule. "If a Pokémon Go player litters or damages something in the parks, it should be the responsibility of the player, not the corporation, to pay for damages."