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Pokemon Go Could Add 2.83 Million Years To Users' Lives, Says Study (cnn.com) 156

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNNMoney: A new study from Microsoft Research found that the most interested Pokemon Go players took 26% more steps than before using the app. The largest behavior changes were seen among sedentary users. No matter their gender, age, weight or lifestyle, Pokemon Go users began to move more -- taking an extra 194 steps a day once they started using the app. (That's the equivalent of walking roughly one tenth of a mile.) The researchers estimate that Pokemon Go has added 144 billion steps to U.S. physical activity. That's 143 roundtrips to the moon. The study was published online this month in the Cornell Library University. Since activity reduces mortality risks, the researchers estimated that Pokemon Go could add 2.83 million years to the life expectancy of an assumed 25 million U.S. users. Based off research that showed walking reduces mortality, the researchers calculated that Pokemon Go users who continued to walk an extra 1,000 steps a day would enjoy 41.4 days of additional life expectancy. The Microsoft scientists examined data shared by 31,793 users of Microsoft Band, a wearable device, and Bing, the company's search engine. They compared the movement data from the wearables with users' web search queries. Pokemon Go players were identified by web searches that indicated they were playing the game. The Microsoft team also looked at four of the most popular health apps on Apple and Android devices. They found these apps had little impact on a person's behavior. The activity levels of Pokemon Go users changed far more.
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Pokemon Go Could Add 2.83 Million Years To Users' Lives, Says Study

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  • If there's an award for the most misleading title on a Slashdot post, this one has to be in the running. It could have at least said HOW MANY users' lives would be enhanced to the tune of 2.83 million years. I suppose people won't read articles unless they contain a ridiculous amount of exaggeration.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's right there in the summary:

      could add 2.83 million years to the life expectancy of an assumed 25 million U.S. users

      Which gives a bit more than 0.1 years per user. Further down

      would enjoy 41.4 days of additional life expectancy.

      41.4 days is a bit more than 0.1 x 365, so the two figures matched, as expected.

      I suppose reading the summary is just too onerous for /. posters.

    • Pokemon Go could add 2.83 million years to the life expectancy of an assumed 25 million U.S. users

      So about a month. Which they would only [have] wasted playing Pokemon Go.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Did the study also consider that people might be using a fake positioning system to just virtually walk around?

    • That will result in spending your extra 40 days in a virtual reality.

    • by hattig ( 47930 )

      It used fitness trackers (which surely skews the results towards those bothered enough to get one of those things), not Pokemon Go, for step counts.

      Most older people seem to play Pokemon Go in the pub, so if it wasn't for the fact they would be in a pub already, it surely is decreasing their life expectancy! :D

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @06:23AM (#53060689)

    Let's subtract all the people who get shot, mauled or otherwise physically harmed for hunting Pokemon where they shouldn't, along with those smart individuals who become victims of accidents because they wanted to hunt some Pokemon where no smart human would willingly go (like, say, the middle of a busy interstate). How many years older do we then get?

    Or is that ok because it only weeds out the ... let's say less viable individuals?

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      Let's subtract all the people who get shot, mauled or otherwise physically harmed for hunting Pokemon where they shouldn't, along with those smart individuals who become victims of accidents because they wanted to hunt some Pokemon where no smart human would willingly go (like, say, the middle of a busy interstate). How many years older do we then get?

      Or is that ok because it only weeds out the ... let's say less viable individuals?

      It would probably add up to no more than a few thousand years of life lost, so overall still a very large net positive gain.

    • The summary states, "Go users ... (take) an extra 194 steps a day...".
      It goes on to state that the Microsoft Research researchers, "calculated that Pokemon Go users who continued to walk an extra 1,000 steps a day would enjoy 41.4 days of additional life expectancy."

      Um, those both may be true, but how does +194 steps equate to +1000 steps? Does the added life expectancy scale linearly (each user living an extra 8.03 days on average)? And, as others have noted, shouldn't they subtract the time spent playing

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )

      I was actually thinking about this last night, and I thought that they could may be add a feature to a game like Pokemon Go that might help save a few of those lives... or at least improve their survivability odds a little bit if they aren't actually watching where they are walking.

      The devices have a camera.... so couldn't they use the camera to watch the face of the user playing the game? Using eye-tracking software, they could probably ascertain if the user was looking at the screen at any given inst

    • My first thought about this was, by helping people move about and live longer PG is actually contributing to environmental disaster.

      • By moving around more, but not replacing other transportation needs like walking to work, people are expending more calories -- which consumes additional global resources pointlessly
      • By living longer, people consume even more resources with the extra years lived; by helping first-world people live longer, you increase the consumed resources by some greater-than-one multiplier
  • I'm here to tell you, in three million years you'll be dead.

    Will I really? Well what do you suggest? Give up white bread? More rougage?
  • Great ... I'll let you know if it's true in the year 285050 o there abouts
  • Doubtful... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mschaffer ( 97223 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @06:50AM (#53060767)

    Did the researchers take into account how many Pokemon Go morons walked in front of cars, buses, and other vehicles while playing the game.
    I personally saw a Pokemon Go idiot fall down a flight of stairs. She twisted her ankle and injured another innocent bystander.

    • Do you need to take that into account? Idiots have been walking in front of cars staring at their mobiles long before pokemon go came out.

  • I prefer my vegans to be free range and grass fed organic.

    Also, crappy summary and title.

  • ... but I don't want to live 2.83 million years.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      3 million years is the big milestone that makes you take a long look at yourself. 2.83 is still party time.
  • 3+ miles for me! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eggstasy ( 458692 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @07:36AM (#53060877) Journal

    If you divide the distance walked by the number of days since I started playing... which includes many days where I didn't play, and some where I played 8 hours.
    Lost 15 lb and slimmed down considerably!
    Also met two really cute geek girls who were happy to let me play with their, ahem, pokemon! ;)
    Grab them by the pokemon I say! :D

  • How about a study on how many people have died because of Pokemon? You have to take the good with the bad. Those "extra years" come at a price.
    • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @08:12AM (#53061005)

      It might be easier to measure how many people died than it would be how many people's lives it saved. Sure we can point fingers at the guy who crashed his car playing pokemon whilst driving; but what about the guy who played pokemon instead of doing some other dumb teen thing. If pokemon kept him from joining a gang and getting shot, for example.

      You can't really say "Pokémon" caused X more people to die, because we don't know the net affect. Extra people may have survived because of it.

  • by msk ( 6205 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @07:57AM (#53060963)

    When Niantic decided that all players with rooted devices were no longer welcome, that pretty much ended the game for me. I was playing it with my spouse, and getting more exercise, but I shouldn't have to jump through yet more hoops to use this product. I'd do just as well reading a book while walking.

    Some devices are rooted by default, some by choice. That alone is not an indicator of cheating.

    • Same here. I'm still not sure why the decided to kick out the rooted users. Some people speculated it had to do with cheaters, but there's no way that's the case since most of them were running stock. Ah well, freed up some space on my phone for games developed by better devs.
  • 1/10th of a mile? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EdZep ( 114198 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @08:20AM (#53061037)

    Well, there may be a small health benefit to walking 1/10th of a mile. But, interest in the app will fade (HAS faded), and even that little bit of walking will subside. Getting and taking care of a dog will have a person doing a LOT more walking, AND will encourage social interaction... unlike Pokey-Go, which keeps users focused on their devices. I want to see some stats about the rate of Pokey-Go users becoming victims of crime... as the first rule of personal safety in public spaces is to maintain situational awareness, which these players are sorely missing.

    • AND will encourage social interaction... unlike Pokey-Go

      Well, I'm not so sure about that. I'm in a young little city, with lots of families and college kids. It's not uncommon to hear someone of any age under about 40 call out some pokemon name in the common poke-areas of the city, only to have a few other people of varying ages say, "Oooh, cool. Where?" I'm not sure that outside the game that college kids would be making any sort of contact with 10 year olds.

      This weekend the wife and I went to people watch at what was rumored to be a ridiculous gatheri

  • Umm...Generally when something is published by your own school's library, that's what's known as a vanity-publication. That means this study did not undergo peer review. Add the fact that it's funded by Microsoft, who has a massive potential vested interest in the future of AR gaming. Something tells me there's gonna be some gorgeous cherry-picking of data and referenced sources going on in this thing.
  • ... the ones who could probably profit the most from the additional steps will most likely find it too tiring and will use GPS spoofing instead.
    Also the study doesn't take into account the added risks to people not used to being in the actual world and moving about, which will as a result to the strange and dangerous surroundings fall prey to all those dangers present there. Like cars, bikes, air, ...

  • These are users who are already using and wearing Microsoft Band before they started playing Pokemon Go, so they were already worried about their fitness, and already had a device to monitor this

    So playing Pokemon Go encourages people to walk more than a fitness monitoring band... and so these are useless ...?

    • So playing Pokemon Go encourages people to walk more than a fitness monitoring band... and so these are useless ...?

      Well you might notice that, after this research was announced, Microsoft quietly discontinued production of the Microsoft Band.

  • Even if walking correlates with longer life,
    more walking will not necessarily cause longer life.

  • It's pretty sad the amount of negative, hateful and bitter comments from the users here. We get so many negative news nowadays and in the end all some people do is focus on the negative.

  • Two weeks ago I did the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier. That's 930 1/10th miles.

    When did we start measuring 1/10th miles as a physical achievement?

    • When did we start measuring 1/10th miles as a physical achievement?

      I suspect that we'd be surprised to how many people walking a few 10ths of a miles would be. When I got put on blood pressure medicine, the pharmacist asked if I could try walking and even just a few blocks would make a difference. I had to let her down by telling her I walk a mile and a half to work each way every day already. Yet, that there is attention to 1/10s of a mile or just a few blocks for ordinary walking, makes me think that it does matter for a significant slice of Americans.

  • I was hoping it was a momentary flash in the pan that outlived it's buzz about a month ago. Does anyone out of junior high school play pokeman? Anyway, sign me up for another 2 million years of life! Sure beats drinking synthetic blood and sleeping all day....
  • I remember reading that sometimes exercise extends your life for the same period as doing the exercise. So in a sense yes, you could live longer but at the same time it's not really anymore time especially if you don't like exercising. So if playing Pokemon Go is fun and enjoyable for you and it extends your life by the same amount, that's pretty much a win win in my book. Note, I'm not a Pokemon Go player myself (don't want a dataplan on my cellphone) but I don't find Pokemon Go players on average annoy

  • To get people to exercise, don't tell them to do exercise. Give them a fun thing to do that happens to involve physical activity but don't call it exercise as that's a chore. Walking to catch a Pokemon is not a chore, it's fun - and that you have to walk and walk and walk to get from one to the other, well, that's just part of the game.

  • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @12:34PM (#53062605) Journal
    Researchers estimate that Pokemon Go players have wasted 2.83 million years of their lives playing the game.....
  • One of the problems with things like Apple Watch and other apps is that, in scientific studies, we find the existence of specific goals actually decreases exercise.

    People will only do as much as they need to achieve the goal.

    That said, Pokemon Go (of which I am level 23 Valiant) has a non-goal measurement. You hatch 2k 5k 10k eggs by walking distances, getting lesser amounts if you take transit ("going too fast" counts less), harvesting Poke Stops and catching wild and placed Pokemon.

    I've noticed a big upti

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