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UAE Pokemon Go players paying thousands to level up

ABU DHABI // Love the idea of Pokemon Go, but can’t be bothered putting in the leg work? There is a solution – but it doesn’t come cheap.

Players at advanced levels are selling their accounts for up to Dh15,000 on classified websites.

Omar Moued, 29, decided to try his luck on dubizzle.com after watching a video about a player in the UK who sold his account for £7,000 (Dh33,700).

“His account wasn’t as strong as mine, so I decided why not?” said Mr Moued, of Dubai.

The negative emails started to arrive soon after he advertised his level-24 account.

“People told me I was crazy and that there was no way I would get anything. One guy said he would never buy it, even for Dh15,” Mr Moued said.

But there was also plenty of interest. It went for Dh11,000 three days later.

“It wasn’t easy to let go of my profile because it was attached to a personal email with my name on it, but in the end it was worth it,” Mr Moued said.

He began his Pokemon hunt on the day the game was released, July 6, and spent at least three hours every day to get to the advanced level. The endeavour took him across the UAE.

With profiles being traded on classified sites around the world, buyers and sellers are running the risk of having their accounts disabled by the developer Niantic, which does not permit their sale, resale, rent or lease.

Razan Al Masri, product marketing manager at dubizzle, said customers had the right to trade freely.

“If they wish to sell something that they no longer use, it is their choice,” Ms Al Masri said.

Another Dubai resident, who is seeing a lot of interest for his level-22 account advertised for Dh15,000, said he did not see a problem with selling his account, especially as the developer made returns from the game.

Players can buy in-game currency and a Bluetooth accessory that connects to smartphones to alert them of nearby Pokestops or Pokemon, so the Pokemon Company and Niantic profit from the game, he said.

“My brother and I worked on this account around 12 to 16 hours a day, so I see nothing wrong with making some money from it,” said Osama.

But buying others’ accounts defeated the purpose of the game, said another avid player.

“These people don’t want to have fun, they want to show off,” said Rehana Abu Ali, 21. “There is no other reason to buy someone else’s account.”

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(via The National)