Monday 26 February 2018

WATCH: The 'colourful world of Pokémon' discussed in Seanad chamber

Jason Kennedy

Jason Kennedy

Pokemon Go has only been available in Ireland a few days, but it has already been brought up in the Oireachtas.

The app was put on the Seanad record by Fine Gael's Catherine Noone, who has a history of recommending ways to tackle obesity in Irleand. The Seanad Deputy Leader said the game has already shown health benefits upon it's release in America.

"What it is different about this app is that contrary to most video games, which encourage a sedentary lifestyle, this inspires teens to get out of the house and walk. The augmented reality game mixes the real world with the colourful world of Pokémon," she said.

"It may be the novelty factor but Pokémon GO seems to motivate young people, even those who have not been active for some time. There are cases in the US of previously inactive people getting out and walking for miles to try to increase their Pokémon stash."

The Practising solicitor said the Government should now offer incentives for video game companies based in Ireland to get gamers more active.

"In the upcoming budget, the Government, of which my party is a member, should support video gaming companies to a greater degree when they come up with innovative ways to get people moving.

"Ireland is already very fertile ground for gaming and we make a lot of money from it. We speak about new politics. We should have innovative ways to deal with the problems we have. I hope the Government is quite forward thinking when it comes to something like this in the upcoming budget."

The Seanad's Cathaoirleach Denis O'Donovan offered further advice for gaming companies.

"Perhaps the Senator could recommend that Pokémon GO reaches out to older people like myself," he said.

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