There’s no arguing that Pokémon Go has become something of a phenomenon among gamers and the general public alike, encouraging players to venture outside and capture Pokémon. The game also encourages you to visit Pokéstops, which act as wayward points to obtain items throughout the day. However some of these Pokéstops, often attached to landmarks in the area, could be handled more tactfully. Some Pokéstops include churches or community centers, others are located at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan, or the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.
In a LA Times‘ interview with J.C. Smith, the Pokémon Company’s marketing director, it was stated that updates to the game would keep it fun for players, but also make it more respectful for real-world locations. In regards to this, Smith commented:
“When something is really popular, we have to figure out the most respectful way to deal with it and make sure that everyone is playing safely and doing things in a respectful manner. It’s only been two weeks since it launched, and there’s been so much attention and so many people playing that it’s tough to think of all the ways it could affect the world.”
“For us, we’re making sure the play experience is done right. Initially, there was some server overload, which we’ve worked on. Now, we’re looking at features in the game and how to fine-tune them so that it’s appealing to the fans but also respectful of the private institutions that are affected by it.”
Niantic Labs have given the option to remove institutions and landmarks from the game through an online form. The removal is not automatic however. Niantic Labs will work through these requests and continue to remove unwanted Pokéstops from future updates.
Some changes to the game’s use of GPS locations has already removed the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum from the list of stops, and other institutions are now contacting the Pokémon Company to ask for the removal of other historical landmarks. There is no word on a timeline for these updates.