Pokemon Go: The game may help people with psychological disorders, says Malaysian doctor

The Malaysian government doesn't have any objection for Pokemon Go being released in the country.

A leading psychologist from Malaysia said Pokemon Go, the new augmented reality game, may be of great help to people who are suffering from psychological disorders.

"It does confer a number of benefits for all sorts of psychological conditions like anxiety and depression," Dr. Edward Chan, principal consultant psychologist at the International Psychology Centre, told Bernama.

Dr. Chan said Pokemon Go could serve as a distraction for people who deal with continuous depression and negative thoughts. The game might also help people having serious problems like phobias and social anxiety.

He added: "It is a very good motivation for this group of people to get them back on their feet. They will start to interact with fellow gamers out in the open instead of being stuck at home while at the same time boosting one's self-esteem and social skills."

Although the game is not yet released in Malaysia, but chances are that it might be available for Android and iOS users in September this year due to the huge demand.

The Communications and Multimedia Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Salleh Said Keruak said in a statement that the government doesn't have any objection for Pokemon Go being released in the country. But no specific date has been mentioned.

Salleh said that Malaysia has not reached a stage where it will object to or restrict the launch of a free mobile application, unlike some other countries.

In response to this decision, Dr. Chan said: "This shows that we are open-minded about new things; it also indicates that the country is willing to embrace change while adapting technological advancement and social change."

However, Dr. Chan also said that one should be careful about the negative impacts of the game, such as obsession which might result in distractions over priority.

"So far there is no evidence to suggest that Pokemon Go is necessarily a negative thing. However, if a person does get disrupted, neglecting their relationships or studies then this may not be so good," he added.

Pokemon Go is a conventional "hide and seek" game where the players have to find virtual characters based on their real-world locations detected through their smartphones.