The interesting question came up because Pokego differentiates itself from most other games because it is
- So visible: You can see people out there playing it. You see them walking about and running around. You see them on their phones and you see their phone screens and you see them flicking their fingers.
- Pseudo Augmented Reality (AR): There is a whole debate about whether Pokego is proper AR (much less VR), but one definite interesting thing about the game is that option of using the phone camera to find, display and catch the Pokemons. It makes it look as if the Pokemon is actually out there in front of you. A cool trick.
- So mobile: The players have got to move around, they got to move to different places on the map by walking, driving, taking public transport etc. It feels like the Pokemons are actually at particular locations. But are they really? Or are they just anywhere on the virtual map, on a virtual screen, no more really on location than they are actually on a real physical map.
So this begs the question of is the game real, are the Pokemons real, are they really there at locations around the world?
Or could you simply spoof (falsify your phone location) around and just as “physically” be there?
Frankly the answer is that it is no more real than any game out there. It is no more unreal than any console or PC game. You move your wii controller and the racket swings, you move your mouse a few inches and your gun raises, you press a button and you walk forward in game. Simply put the GPS-enabled location of your phone acts as one of the controllers of this game. The code calculates your movements in metres, tracks your location against the server map, calculates how far you walked and awards you points. The difference here is that you walk one metre in reality, you move one same metre in game. 1:1. No shortcut keyboard button to amplify movements.
It would be a cool philosophical question: if someone made a fake map of the world, with fake things on it, what changes?