If you’re in France and you’re wondering why you’ve suddenly started seeing a lot more people than usual with eyes glued to their smartphones, now you know why.
The arrival of Pokémon Go in France has prompted scenes like those in a Bordeaux park that were caught on video that you’d think were people running in blind panic from something sinister.
But in reality they were just racing to catch a particularly rare Pokémon.
The arrival of the game has also provoked some worried reactions in France.
Police have issued warnings on Twitter urging gamers to play with caution.
“Drivers, do not play Pokémon Go,” the Gendarmerie Nationale tweeted before the game’s release. “Pedestrians, use extra caution.”
They also advised parents to caution their children against wandering off alone or onto private property while playing the game, and to watch out for thieves.
Laurence Rossignol, France’s Minister of Families, Childhood, and Women’s Rights, tweeted a photo with the sarcastic caption: “Great! A new game to promote exchanges, curiosity, and attention to others.”
— laurence rossignol (@laurossignol) July 24, 2016
She was subsequently bombarded with responses taking issue with this negative perception of the game.
“Yeah, it’s horrible isn’t it?” wrote the Twitter user below.
— Alex Mahoudeau (@CobbleAndFrame) July 24, 2016
France's consumer’s association UFC Que Choisir called the game “expensive, dangerous, and too curious.”
The association stressed the risks of playing the game, citing examples of accidents in the US between pedestrians and also car accidents caused by players who were too absorbed in catching 'em all.
It also said that Pokémon Go players become prime targets for thieves.
“It also has the right to collect your age, sex, country of residence, birth date, along with your hobbies, toys, and favorite games,” said UFC Que Choisir, adding that “advertisements and certain content can be displayed by using this data.”