Harry Potter: Wizards Unite developers Niantic will be hoping they can cast an Obliviate spell after the augmented reality wizard-’em-up has directed players to an east London strip club.
The Harry Potter mobile game works like stable-mate Pokemon Go, sending players to real-life locations (here dubbed “greenhouses”) to get supplies as they venture around the place doing Harry Potter related tasks.
One of these greenhouses is Ye Olde Axe in Hoxton, a pole-dancing club where punters can see nude dancing if they toss a pound into a pint glass.
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The Sun, reporting the story, spoke to a barmaid known as Irina, who seemed amused about the Potter connection. “Oh is the Harry Potter game out?” she said, “I’ve been waiting for it to come out for ages.”
“How funny that we are on there. Harry Potter fans are welcome like anyone else, as long as they put £1 in the glass and are over 18.”
Niantic has since removed the venue from the game and issued an apology, claiming “We want everybody to have a fantastic time exploring while playing safely.” Niantic’s markers are often generated by the community, with locations sometimes shared throughout Niantic’s stable of games, including Ingress, Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
In this game, Greenhouses provide ingredients for brewing potions to those visiting them.
It’s just the latest controversy for the AR game, which got flak at launch for its aggressive monetisation strategy, in addition to the fact that it, like Pokemon Go, encourages kids and teenagers to explore isolated areas by themselves. The NSPCC even waded in to suggest that kids could “accidentally end up in dangerous locations”, which seems to have been proven by the fact kids have recently been pointed in the direction of a pole dancing club.