Can Nintendo by sued for a death of player of Pokemon - for debate
I raise debate on this topic because I believe it will happen sooner of later.
In certain circumstances of a death of a player of Pokémon where the game has caused the player to be in harm's way and die, or cause another to die, could Nintendo be sued for manslaughter or second degree homicide ??
The usual defence of a gaming platform is that it is just that, a platform provided for players to use as they wish and for which the platform provider claims no responsibility for the way a person uses it, or as in social media platforms, comments/images posted.
But, in Nintendo's case and in the way I understand the game is coded, that defence falls away because Nintendo themselves provide the geo-positioning data that lures players into locations that Nintendo have good reason to know to be hazardous and/or cause hazard to people Nintendo sends there.
Nintendo wilfully and knowingly distribute that geo-positioning data to the game players. They have no excuse for not knowing of potential hazard as they can easily verify exactly where the position is that they send out. Some positions are clearly chosen because of their specific location.
So, if as an obvious example a Pokémon position is near a cliff's edge, and the player falls off the cliff to their death, I cannot see Nintendo being able to defend a charge of manslaughter (as it is called in the UK). That example is easy to determine, there will be many others such as in the middle of a road, as now often happens, which could also be actionable.
Nintendo could have a difficult defence saying it is up to the player to use the game responsibly because they know full well of the addictive and compulsive nature of the game, and their coding builds on that compulsion to use the game and where many players walk along looking intently at their phone looking for a character, oblivious to all else around them.
Nintendo knows their game causes this, so they wilfully engage in that aspect of the game to attract more players, and thus incur liability for what happens.
This liability could also extend to Pokémon player events that cause suffering or substantial loss.