Pokémon GO or No Go? Mobile Games May Pose More Risks to Companies beyond Employee Distraction

Introduction

To say the gaming industry is popular is a colossal understatement. According to IDC, the number of smartphone and tablet gamers should increase to more than 1.9 billion in 2020. Augmented reality, fueled most recently by the Pokémon GO sensation, and virtual reality gaming opportunities are really beginning to open up on mobile platforms. It is predicted that millions of mobile device users will be playing these types of games within just a few years.

The workplace is certainly not immune from the gaming phenomenon. Many employees spend time using Pokémon GO that taps into their mobile device’s GPS to locate, capture, battle and train virtual Pokémon creatures who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player.

Beyond Pokémon GO, here are a few of the most popular ones:

  • Angry Birds is a puzzle video game inspired by a sketch of stylized, wingless birds that combine fun and a comical style.
  • Bubble Shooter is a mix of Tetris and Connect Four, with players destroying colored bubbles by connecting at least three bubbles of the same color.
  • Candy Crush is a match-three puzzle game that switches adjacent candles to form rows of three of the same color, which are then cleared from the board.
  • Clash of Clans allows players to build a village, develop an army and fight until their clan rules a village.

With the ubiquitous coexistence of business and personal apps, do games introduce additional downsides beyond employee distraction?

What about the apps employees are using on their corporate and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to stream content, get to the next elusive level and try out the latest and greatest games? What data can they access? What device features can they interact with? Could they pose a potential security risk to organizations or violate their BYOD policies?