It will soon be possible for the general public to request the removal of PokéStops and Gyms in Pokémon Go, if a lawsuit that started in 2016 reaches a settlement proposed by Niantic.
The lawsuit was originally started by homeowners in California who were fed up with Pokémon Go players trespassing upon their private property while hunting Pokémon. In order to settle the class action lawsuit that has been brought against Niantic (the creators of Pokémon Go), a settlement has been suggested, which will allow members of the general public to remove parts of the game if they encourage disorderly conduct.
Niantic's settlement (via The Hollywood Reporter) will result in a complaints service, where members of the general public can ask for PokéStops and Gyms to be removed if they are causing a disturbance. It will also be possible for homeowners to ask for the same kind of service if PokéStops or Gyms are near private property.
Niantic will also create a service that allows people to file complaints via a system similar to Google Maps, which will allow park authorities to specify opening times, in order to prevent people from trying to enter at night.
The settlement will also lead to the creation of a warning message that will be distributed whenever a group of ten or more players is detected in the same area, reminding them to behave responsibly when hunting for Pokémon.
The results of the Pokémon Go class action suit will help to shape the laws going forward in regards to the placement of digital items within augmented reality games. There is still the matter of whether Niantic is liable for placing digital items in a space that is privately owned and whether they are responsible for crimes that are committed when people try to pursue them.
The proposed settlement of the case will offer a new level of control over the placement of locations within Pokémon Go, which should have been in the game from the beginning. If the settlement is accepted, it will offer a legal precedent for similar games going forward, like the upcoming Harry Potter Wizards Unite.