Dutch authorities are taking Pokémon Go developer Niantic Labs to court after the massively popular game's creators failed to stop thousands of players from swarming the protected beaches in a small coastal town in the Netherlands. Since the mobile game's July release in the Netherlands, eager Pokémon Go players have continued to swarm the beaches of Kijkduin, located south of The Hague, to capture some of the game's most popular digital monsters.
Dubbed the Pokémon capital of the Netherlands, authorities are now concerned about the unprecedented number of people scouring the seaside resort's vast beaches for Pokémon and possibly damaging its protected sand dunes. The Hague authorities said they have been trying to reach out to Niantic since mid-August via telephone, letters and summons. The developer, however, never responded.
"We had no other choice" but to go to court, the Hague municipality said in a statement. The authorities are also looking to ban these small virtual animals in protected areas and in the streets from 11:00PM to 7:00AM."
"The municipality is demanding that Niantic switch off the coordinates to stop the virtual characters from appearing in the Natura 2000 nature protection areas around Kijkduin," the municipality said. "People should no longer be tempted to walk through the protected dune areas. The municipality also wants the Pokémons to stop appearing on and around the Deltaplein between 23.00 and 7.00 hrs. so that residents can enjoy a good night's rest."
The court case will be heard on 11 October, the Guardian reports.
"Kijkduin will remain an attractive place for Pokémon hunters, but there will be less trouble for the residents and the damage to protected areas will be limited," the municipality added.
In August, The Pokémon Company, which licenses the franchise, said Niantic would honour requests to remove the game from certain areas, or add new PokéStops for players to collect virtual goods. Multiple historical sites and other sensitive locations worldwide including the Hiroshima and Berlin Holocaust memorials, the former concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Arlington National Cemetary have asked to be removed from the game.
Pokémon Go enthusiasts have also been asked not to enter the Cambodian genocide museum or the Fukushima disaster zone in Japan. In August, Vietnam banned Pokémon Go players from the offices of its government and ruling Communist Party as well as defence locations.
Thailand also announced plans to prohibit people from playing the augmented reality game in certain sensitive areas including the Royal Palace grounds, Buddhist temples and hospitals among others.
In the Middle East, authorities in Kuwait and the UAE warned players about the security and privacy dangers that come with playing the popular game. Iran also issued an official ban on the smartphone game citing unspecified "security concerns".
Polygon recently reported that over 70 Pokémon Go players have filed complaints with the US Federal Trade Commission about the potential dangers of the game, many of which involved the placement of Pokémon Gyms and PokeStops in private properties.
However, the game has been a roaring success since its July release captivating millions of people across the globe. Niantic and The Pokémon Company said that the game has been downloaded over a whopping 500 million times since it was launched for iOS and Android two months ago.