Chasing that elusive Pikachu comes at a high price, apparently.
“Pokemon Go” players wracked up between $2 billion and $7.3 billion in damages last year, according to a recent study from resarchers at Purdue University.
Subtly titled “Death By Pokémon GO,” the study looked at 12,000 accidents in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and compared them against “Pokestops,” locations where game players could track down their prized digital Pokémon.
The results were alarming: Purdue found a stark 26.5 percent increase in accidents within 100 meters of Pokéstops. Researchers suggested that 134 accidents in Tippecanoe County — including 31 injuries, and two “incremental” deaths — might be pegged to playing “Pokemon Go.”
Between $5 million and $25 million in additional damages hit the county, according to the study. When that one county’s figures were extrapolated nationwide, it reached the billions of dollars in damages and lost potential income from the drivers killed.
The study, spearheaded by Mara Faccio and John J. McConnell, said its numbers were “speculative,” but also added, “however measured, the costs are significant.”
Niantic Labs, the creator of the game, did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
“Pokemon Go” was a phenomenon when it launched during summer 2016, with 65 million people still playing months after its release.
Players chased down artificial reality versions of Pokémon by foot and added them to their virtual collection. The movement was so big it inspired its own $20-t0-enter festival in Chicago this past summer — although it was marred by poor cell service and led to Niantic CEO John Hanke getting booed on stage.