A First Amendment issue is brewing in federal court over a local Wisconsin ordinance—the nation's first—that requires publishers of augmented reality mobile games like Pokemon Go and Texas Rope 'Em to get a special use permit if their apps require gamers to play in Milwaukee County parks.
A Southern California company called Candy Lab, the maker of Texas Rope 'Em, is suing the county over the requirement that was adopted in February in the wake of the Pokemon Go craze that resulted in a Milwaukee county park being overrun by a deluge of players. The permit, which costs as much as $1,000, requires estimates for crowd size and the event dates and times. It also calls for plans about garbage collection, bathroom use, on-site security, and medical services.
Candy Lab says it's impossible to comply with the permit for it fledgling app. Candy Lab can neither realistically answer the permit's questions (PDF) nor afford to pay for the other requirements like on-site security when users of its platform hunt for a winning hand in its augmented reality version of Texas Hold 'Em. Like Niantic's Pokemon Go, Candy Lab's app is built to be played in designated parks and other areas. These types of mobile apps provide users with an augmented and interactive view of the park.