'Pokemon Go's' New Themed Pokestops Backfire Horribly As Niantic Is Accused Of False Activism

Niantic, the development studio behind Pokemon Go, is trying out something completely new to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: themed Pokestops. Unfortunately, reports Tech.Mic, the idea, which was supposedly meant as a way to spread awareness of pressing world issues through Pokemon Go, has completely backfired and is now drawing a lot of harsh criticism to Niantic for being greedy and uncaring.

The World Economic Forum is an annual summit for extremely rich people to come together and discuss how to invest in the future. Niantic took notice and formulated a plan to create 17 "themed Pokestops" for Pokemon Go around the site of the World Economic Forum that bore the names of the 17 "Global Goals for Sustainable Development" recently set forth by Project Everyone, a UN-backed organization.

Pokemon Go World Economic Forum Davos Switzerland Themed Pokestops Backlash
Several of the Davos Pokestops. [Image by Niantic/The Pokemon Company]

Presumably, Niantic wanted to use Pokemon Go as a means to affect positive change in the world, or at least make it seem that it wants to.

"We've always wanted both Niantic and Pokemon Go to be a force for good in the world," says John Hanke, Niantic's founder and Pokemon Go creator. "We are extremely proud to partner with the Global Goals campaign to help remind people of how critically important the goals are while hopefully keeping the world's leaders focused on delivering on them."

The ultra-rich World Economic Forum attendees would seem to be the perfect group to cater to in order to make a real change in the world, too, since they tend to be the ones with enough power to actually make waves.

"This partnership with Niantic and The Pokemon Company International with the massively popular game, Pokemon Go," noted one of the guests, filmmaker Richard Curtis, "is a great way of making sure the goals are front of mind with the Davos attendees, who are such an important constituency in delivering on the promise of the Goals."

Pokemon Go World Economic Forum Davos Switzerland Themed Pokestops Backlash
Several attendees of last year's World Economic Forum, including John Kerry. [Image by Jacquelyn Martin/AP Images]

And if the "themed Pokestops" create a bit more buzz for Pokemon Go (as Niantic undoubtedly knew they will), then so be it. Maybe it will get people at the Forum to install Pokemon Go and see the themed Pokestops, which will reinforce the goals in the attendees' minds.

Soon after the "themed Pokestops" were established, however, the criticism began. And not just from Pokemon Go players upset about such an area-exclusive update to the game, either.

Niantic's mistake had been not doing anything to support the causes it purported to care so much about other than set up a few new Pokestops and a gym at the Forum's Congress center. It did not donate any money (which it certainly has enough of after the earth-shaking success of Pokemon Go) to Project Everyone, and it is not even allocating any percentage of the money spent on Pokemon Go by Forum attendees to the organization.

Even if any of that had been the case, notes The Next Web, the World Economic Forum is a very bad place for Niantic to choose to set up charity Pokestops in Pokemon Go.

"Most people who attend Davos are old, curmudgeonly statesmen and entrepreneurs," the coverage notes. "Hardly the target audience for Pokemon Go."

Pokemon Go World Economic Forum Davos Switzerland Themed Pokestops Backlash
'Pokemon Go' has players all over the world. [Image by Charles Krupa/AP Images]

The general consensus online is that Niantic's decision to set up "themed Pokestops" for Pokemon Go at the forum was an absolutely terrible effort to raise awareness of global issues. In fact, many social media users think that the move was not a sincere effort to raise awareness at all, but just a cheap gimmick that leveraged the serious "Global Goals for Sustainable Development" in order to gain additional press coverage for Pokemon Go. Said users are not being shy about expressing their distaste for the crocodile tears maneuver.

Click here to view a live map of all 17 Pokestops from Google.

While a few solemnly named Pokestops are helping the world's biggest issues disappear (read: sarcasm), Pokemon Go fans are waiting with bated breath for the next big global update to the game. To check out a few probable upcoming updates and vote on which one you're most excited for, head over to the Inquisitr's official poll.

And as always, Train On, Pokemon fans.

[Featured image by Fred Schaerli | Wikimedia/Creative Commons | Cropped and Resized | Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International]