Augmented reality game developer Niantic has decided to give its players the opportunity to profile themselves on Pokémon GO with a PokéStop nomination system.
While an international launch date has not yet been announced, the company announced on Tuesday to launch an early beta test of the nomination system. The beta version of the system is limited to level 40 players in Brazil and South Korea, excluding children's accounts.
Nominated. Niantic will ask users to submit photos of the site and its surroundings along with a description. Niantic will conduct a crowdsourcing approach to review nominations, with participants in the Ingress Operation Portal Recon (OPR) project acting as jury.
In Niantic's support documentation, the company reveals the criteria by which OPR agents evaluate nominations. In general, Niantic is looking for a place "with a cool history, a place in history, or a pedagogical value." Suitable locations include art installations, unique architecture, public parks, libraries and places of worship, transit stations and local hot spots.
Similarly, the company also describes what will make nominations ineligible. For example, places with no safe access for pedestrians are rejected, as well as places that hinder fire stations, police districts, hospitals.
Similarly, private homes, schools, child care centers, temporary structures, and "adult-oriented businesses or services" (namely, liquor stores, adult adult entertainment, shooting ranges, and arms dealers) are not accepted. Wide natural landscapes meet the reject pile, but artificial points of interest, such as badges and signage, can be selected.
The submission guidelines reflect some caution that is likely to avoid legal issues for good reason. The company has been confronted with numerous harassment associated with its flagship game, which originated with players entering or swarming certain areas while hunting for AR creatures. In California, while Niantic managed to sack a class-action suit, he faces another lawsuit in which the company denies liability. Internationally, Iran has even banned virtual spaces as a result of the game.
However, while courts may ultimately set a legal precedent for AR locations, courts could serve as an example of how other augmented reality companies could tackle the merging of virtual worlds with real locations.