In case you hadn’t noticed, Pokémon Go has driven the world into a positive frenzy, with millions of people taking to the streets to take part in the augmented reality game.
As it explains on the official Pokémon website: “As you move around, your smartphone will vibrate to let you know you’re near a Pokémon.
“Once you’ve encountered a Pokémon, take aim on your smartphone’s touch screen and throw a Poké Ball to catch it. Be careful when you try to catch it, or it might run away!”
Intent on catching every single fuzzy monster in the Pokémon database as quickly as possible, many players have been encouraged to include at least one long walk in their day-to-day routine, heading further and further afield to try and find the rarest Pokémon possible.
This sudden spate of exercise (because, yes, it is exercise – even if the gamers themselves haven’t noticed) has led many experts to speculate that the mobile game could help to prevent diabetes and obesity across the world.
However, discontent with simply boosting their own wellbeing, some players have been looking for ways to turn their new obsession into a means of making money.
And one UK teacher has done just that.
Sophia Pedraza, a 26-year-old from North London, has been happily playing the game for up to 18 hours a day.
As a result, she’s captured a LOT of Pokémon over the last fortnight – so much so that she’s now made the drastic decision to quit her job giving private lessons to children in maths, music, and literature (for which she earns a cool £2000 a month).
Instead, she wants to play the game full-time, so that she can boost and sell her Pokémon Go account on eBay.
The teacher told The Sun: “I heard accounts were being sold and I looked on eBay and some accounts at level 20 and above for a £1,000 and level 15 bids were about £100 - £200.
“If you put the time in you can get to level 15 after a day or two.
“I plan to buy more phones and play multiple games at one time.”
Sophia, like others who have taken to eBay to sell their virtual critters, risks having her account suspended if it is brought to the attention of Niantic Labs, who developed the game.
Their terms of service explicitly state that accounts cannot be sold for commercial gain, reading: “Use the Services or Content, or any portion thereof, for any commercial purpose or for the benefit of any third party or in a manner not permitted by these Terms, including but not limited to (a) gathering in App items or resources for sale outside the App, (b) performing services in the App in exchange for payment outside the App, or (c ) sell, resell, rent, or lease the App or your Account.”
This, however, has not stopped Pokémon Go sellers from listing their accounts on eBay, with one selling for a cool £7,300 on the online auction site.
Another user sold his account for £1,144 – but insisted that the money would go to a good cause.
“I’m just a broke college student in debt, and every penny helps,” he allegedly said.
Meanwhile Sophia has admitted that her mum criticised her for giving up her job to play at being a Pokémon bounty hunter (because, let’s face it, that is what she is).
Yet, despite being forced to swallow a heavy dose of parental disapproval, Sophie insists that she will continue her plan for as long as it is financially viable.
She said: “I'm going to do it for as long as it makes money.
“It's a big craze at the moment and there's money to be made but if it slows down I can always go back to teaching.”
Thank goodness for the summer holidays, eh? That should give her more than enough time to stock up on Poké Balls and “catch ‘em all”.
Images: eBay, Rex Features