Dutch freeze court action against Pokemon Go makers


The Hague (AFP)

Dutch authorities have suspended plans to sue the US makers of Pokemon Go, after the company deleted its virtual pets from a protected beach in The Hague, a municipality spokesman said on Tuesday.

The so-called Pokestops and Pokegyms, which attract Pokemon and allows players to buy accessories to capture, treat and train the virtual monsters, "have been removed from the protected natural area," Gerald Rensink told AFP.

Since the game was launched in the Netherlands, thousands of fans have been crowding the vast, windswept beaches of Kijkduin where hundreds of the game's most popular cartoon monsters spawned daily.

The smartphone app uses satellite locations, graphics and the phone's camera capabilities to overlay the cartoon monsters onto real-world settings.

But the small coastal village of Kijkduin, south of The Hague, has been inundated with players, triggering concern for the protected dunes surrounding the beaches.

Pokemon creator Niantic pledged Friday it would withdraw all the virtual critters in the area after The Hague last month said it would take court action.

The city's municipality said it had been forced to take the issue to court after Niantic had failed to respond to its pleas to stop the monsters.

The authorities want to ban these small virtual animals in protected areas and in Kijkduin's streets "from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am".

Rensink said Thursday the timing issue was "technically very complex" but that the city was in talks with Niantic.

"We have suspended the (court) action pending a solution," he said.

The Pokemon Company, which licenses the franchise, told AFP in August that Niantic was centralising all the requests to withdraw the game from areas.

The most recent update saw the Hiroshima and Berlin Holocaust memorials disappear as Pokemon landmarks. In Poland, the former concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which is today a museum, has also asked to be withdrawn from the game.