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Philippines bans Pokemon Go in public offices

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MANILA: The Philippines has banned Pokemon Go in government offices following similar decisions by Southeast Asian neighbours to limit the blockbuster smartphone game because of its impact on productivity.

The Civil Service Commission (CSC), in a report by broadcast network ABS-CBN, said it will no longer allow play during office hours and will request the Pokemon Go developer to remove government offices from the list of Poke Stops and gyms.

Vietnam and Thailand have taken similar measures.

“It affects work. Employees might not be able to fulfil their duties at that time,” said Maria Luisa Agamata, public assistance and information officer of the commission.

A building in the lawmakers’ complex and the Quezon City Hall, both at the heart of the capital Manila, are designated Poke Stops, places where gamers can collect new items.

The augmented reality game was launched early this month in the Philippines, one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in Asia.

Pokemon Go, developed by Niantic and an affiliate of Japan’s Nintendo Co Ltd, marries a classic 20-year old franchise with augmented reality. Players walk around real-life neighbourhoods to hunt down virtual cartoon characters visible only on their smartphone screens.

The global hit prompted gamers to leave the couch and explore, but it has been blamed for a rash of car accidents and a slew of mishaps stemming from distracted players.

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