The latest release from Niantic Games, “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” brought magic to the muggle world (or in this case, the Apple and Android markets) on July 27, 2019. Within the first 24 hours, the game was downloaded at least 400,000 times, and made about $1.1 million in revenue.
The game is another installment in the augmented reality universe, wherein players can create a character and protect the Wizarding World from exposure by dark forces. You, as the player, are required to suit up in Hogwarts gear, find characters and items from the Harry Potter series in the muggle world, and return them to the Wizarding World before muggles (humans) find them.
While the game is immersive, and has brought great joy to Potter fans around the world, the app has also created some problems. Besides the issues of usurping mobile data and battery life, the app also poses a safety risk.
Purdue University released findings from a safety study done on the predecessor app to Wizards Unite, called Pokemon Go. Similar in nature to Wizards Unite, Pokemon Go was also a virtual reality game, where players could travel the real world and collect pocket monsters. In the study, Purdue found, in 2017 alone, that the app caused 29,370 injuries, 256 deaths, and $7.3 billion in traffic violations. As Wizards Unite is the same app in form, it poses similar risk factors.
So, with these facts in mind, here are some safety tips to consider while embarking on your epic quest to save the Wizarding World, so that you don’t end up as an injury victim at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies.
Passenger Play: Distracted driving was a leading cause of injury while playing Pokemon Go. Do NOT drive and play the app at the same time. In Wizards Unite, if you are in a car, Niantic actually requires you to indicate if you are a passenger at the moment game play begins (in an effort to thwart distracted driving). Do not override! Driving requires total concentration. You cannot make safe adaptations to changing road conditions if you are too busy trying to capture an escaped phoenix. If you can’t miss a minute of the action, have a passenger play for you.
The Buddy System: Don’t play the game alone. If Harry Potter has taught nothing else, wizards are more effective if they work in teams. The game has the potential to take you to unfamiliar destinations. Playing with friends will provide safety in numbers and keep you aware of your surroundings.
Stay Alert and Have a Plan: Always be aware of your circumstances. If you’re not paying attention, you may not be able to react to the problems around you. Take notice of traffic conditions, changes in weather, and your own physical needs. Don’t play the game in busy roadways or thoroughfares. In summer, weather can change in an instant. If you notice bad weather is on the way, seek shelter immediately. With the high heat and humidity, drink plenty of water and don’t overdo it. If you know you are going to wander far from home in pursuit of the magical critters, let someone at home know where you’re headed, how long you expect to be gone, and provide good contact information.
These tips are designed to keep you safe while exploring the Wizarding World. Since the release of Wizards Unite, there have been very few reports of injury associated with playing the app. This suggests that people have learned from the experiences of Pokemon Go. These tips are gentle reminders to use common sense while having fun. You are already dealing with powerful Death Eaters; your safety and injury shouldn’t be added to the list of problems. Happy questing!
For more information on safety tips for this game, visit Floow.