As it turns out, push notifications imploring players to go outside during a hurricane might not be the best policy.
Pokemon Go is receiving a lot of snark and criticism for an untimely notification sent during Hurricane Irma. Late last week, the game sent out a mass notification encouraging players to go out and explore their local parks for new Pokemon. While the game sends out a similar notification every few weeks, residents in Florida seemingly received one at the same time they were receiving severe weather alerts about an approaching hurricane.
— Return (@ReturntheHunter) September 10, 2017
The poorly timed notification went viral, resulting in thousands of retweets and more than a few jokes. “There should be plenty of Gyarados in a hurricane,” one user joked.
“No wonder the weather is f***ked,” another wrote. “We all seriously disturbed the harmony of lightning, ice, and fire.” (That’s a reference to Pokemon the Movie: 2000, for those wondering.)
Some of the Best Responses
Here’s a few other classic responses to Pokemon Go‘s unfortunate notification:
Currently the west coast is getting a lot of fire types
— Sam Reid (@RowingBuddha) September 11, 2017
“Yo Jimmy! yea it was a Vaporeon!” pic.twitter.com/Ka7dTrUnxd
— رضى (@med_reda_dsm) September 10, 2017
It seems that people will at least retain their sense of Pokemon humor in the middle of giant natural disasters.
What the Notification Was Trying to Say
The notification was supposed to remind players about a “nest migration,” a phenomena in Pokemon Go that occurs every couple of weeks. Many parks and other public locations are home to Pokemon nests, where specific species of Pokemon spawn in greater numbers. Pokemon Go rotates what species appears at these locations every couple of weeks, and has recently sent out reminders to players to let them know when a migration has occurred.
The notification was sent to every player in the game, so the developers clearly didn’t have any malice intended. Still, as we saw last summer, people will be more than happy to blame Pokemon Go for stupid behavior. Hopefully Niantic figures out a way to “localize” notifications so that people living in the middle of high-risk areas aren’t encouraged to go out and catch Pokemon.