POKEMON GO FANATICS have been responsible for carnage thanks to hunting the digital creatures when driving rather than walking around as intended.
Niantic's massively popular augmented reality (AR) app for iOS and Android caught the attention of smart alecs Mara Faccio and John McConnell from Purdue University.
The enterprising economists sifted through accident reports from Tippecanoe County in Indiana correlating crashes, injuries and even two deaths that occurred around Pokestops and gyms; the former is where players pick up virtual supplies and the latter is where they pit their Pokémon against others.
In the dramatically titled Death by Pokemon Go report, the researchers found that the costs of the chaos caused by Pokémon Go players across some 148 days during its summer of love period in July 2016 is in the "millions of dollars."
"We estimate the total incremental county-wide cost of users playing Pokémon Go while driving, including the value of the two incremental human lives lost, to be in the range of $5.2m to $25.5m over only the 148 days following the introduction of the game," they said.
"Extrapolation of these estimates to nation-wide levels yields a total ranging from $2 to $7.3 billion for the same period."
According to the research, an extra 286 crashes were added to the county's tally when compared to the same period a year earlier, and out of those 134 were near Pokestops. Coincidence? The researchers didn't think so.
They figured out that Pokémon Go was actually the main contributor to crashes and calamities, as they suggested that people cheating the game mechanics by driving around would hop out of their cars while playing the Pokémon Go.
Of course, your average American is not James Bond or Jason Bourne, so such automotive acrobatics resulted in fender benders and dumb damage.
Pokémon Go has previously been blamed for people wandering into roads or walking into things when glued to their smartphones. But it appears that some Pokémon Go players, at least in Tippecanoe County, were actively performing stupid manoeuvres just to snag a Snorlax or bag a Bulbasaur.
Now we appreciate that excitement and the desire to collect things for instant gratification can get the better of even the most Zen people. But we reckon dying over a Pokémon is a bit too far; it's not what Satoshi Tajiri would've wanted. µ
This weeks in-brief Google News
To replace them with younger models
Security firm warns that IoT devices are the next target
But don't go expecting any new MacBooks