Over the past few weeks, Pokémon Go has infiltrated itself into just about everywhere and everything.
It’s impossible to walk anywhere without passing gamers staring at their screens trying to find and catch characters.
For anyone not yet caught up in Pokémon madness, whether as a player or the parent of one, the game works like this: As you move around in the real world, your smartphone vibrates to let you know you’re near a Pokémon. Take aim, throw a Poké Ball to catch it and, when you have enough, you can move up levels, join teams and battle other players in Pokémon gyms.
PokéStops, which are locations in the real world marked on your in-game map, allow you to pick up items, including Poké Balls and eggs which can hatch. You can also install items to lure Pokémon.
So far, 75m people have downloaded the game and we’ve heard of players being robbed, trespassing on private property, and injuring themselves walking into things while looking at their screens.
Now it would seem Pokémon Go is even impacting upon the property market.
In the US, estate agents are using Pokémon proximity as an amenity. One listing advertises a home as "conveniently located between two Pokémon gyms and eight Pokéstops within walking distance.” Another lists Pokéstops to lure potential renters and an apartment complex promises rare Pokémon.
So far, we’re yet to see a UK listing featuring Pokémon, but it’s probably only a matter of time.
The technology itself could be used in an infinite number of areas for the property market. You could see property prices, statistics, or the interior of a home in augmented reality while walking down the street.
Video games are now things we get out into the outside world to experience. We may venture down streets and into areas we wouldn’t otherwise have explored, just because there is a Pikachu or a Bulbasaur there.
It could perhaps open up our horizons in terms of where we want to live and broaden our property search areas, all because, as the Pokémon slogan goes, you ‘Gotta catch ‘em all!’
Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.
Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 40 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information call 01325 341500.