'Pokémon Go' tries to save the world at a major conference

Is checking in at a PokéStop really going to raise awareness of economic issues?

Updated ·1 min read

How would you tackle important social issues through technology? If you're Niantic and The Pokémon Company, you have people play a game. They're teaming up with the Global Goals and Project Everyone campaigns to raise awareness of issues through special Pokémon Go locations at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. A total of 17 locations are turning into PokéStops based on each of the Global Goals, such as "no poverty" and "reduced inequalities." The Congress Centre at the heart of the Forum will also become a Gym, and there's a promise of additional Global Goals material in the spring.

It's a noble goal, and proof that Pokémon Go stops can be used as more than just corporate promotional tools. With that said, are checkpoints in an augmented reality game really going to do much to solve the world's ills, especially at a conference frequented by elites? Political and corporate leaders aren't usually roaming city streets looking for a Charmander, and it's doubtful that organizations will change their policies based on PokéStop graphics. This is more of an encouragement for conscientious, tech-savvy WEF attendees than a concerted attempt to sway influencers -- it's helpful, but not game-changing.