BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- A new smartphone app called Pokémon Go has launched a worldwide phenomenon and it is bringing in people to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American who normally may not make the trip.
Pokémon Go has been downloaded more than 7 million times since it was released July 6. Beth Bobbit, public relations manager at Crystal Bridges, said there is likely a correlation between the release of the game and the higher number of visitors to the museum this past weekend. She said several gamers have come through the museum for the Pokémon and stayed for the art. The museum even shared a post about where some of the Pokémon can be found.
The app, which is free to download, uses GPS technology to guide users on a hunt for different Pokémon. When a gamer comes within a certain distance of a character, they use the camera on their phone to "capture" it and take it with them.
Pokémon Go is different from a traditional video game in that it requires gamers to go outside and walk in their search for their next Pokémon, which not only adds steps to their everyday routine, but can also lead players to places they do not normally go, like Crystal Bridges.
"It's a really innovative game because you're going out into the parks or the malls or wherever and you're catching these Pokémon," Connor Phillips, who is a fan of the game, said. "It feels like you're actually doing it because you're swiping the Poké Ball and stuff like that."
Phillips said he is aware that playing the game can be distracting.
"I think that people should use discretion," Phillips said. "I mean if you're going to be going out in the middle of the night because you saw there's a Pikachu in the park near you, you should be really cautious, but really it's the same amount of caution you should use if you're going to do anything else really."
While the game is intended to be fun, local police are reminding players going on private property to catch a Pokémon is still considered trespassing.