Monday 11 December 2017

Nintendo shares lose ground on report of Pokemon GO delay

A gamer plays Pokemon Go on his smartphone (AP)
A gamer plays Pokemon Go on his smartphone (AP)

Nintendo Co's (7974.T) shares gave up some of their meteoric gains made on the record-breaking success of its Pokemon GO mobile game, hurt in part by a reported delay for the game's introduction in Japan.

Technology news site TechCrunch said that game developer Niantic Inc had planned to launch Pokemon GO in Japan on Wednesday but had canceled it, citing a source as saying that the company was worried the hype generated by the game would overload its servers.

Read more: Can Pokémon Go save Nintendo?

TechCrunch said it believed that the launch in Japan, one of the world's biggest gaming markets, was imminent.

Nintendo's stock was down 10 percent in afternoon trade. Even so, it has gained 87 percent since the July 6 launch of the game in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, adding $17 billion to its market capitalization. It is now available in 35 countries.

A spokeswoman for Pokemon Company, which created the game along with Nintendo and Google-spinoff Niantic, declined to comment on the report, reiterating that nothing had been decided over the Japan launch date. Nintendo referred any queries regarding Pokemon GO to Pokemon Company.

Read more: Frenchman caught in Indonesian military base 'was hunting Pokemon'

Pokemon GO, which marries a classic 20-year-old franchise with augmented reality, is on its way to becoming the first mobile game to break the $4 billion-per-year wall, beating Candy Crush Saga and Supercell's Clash of Clans, according to Macquarie Research.

Shares of Japan's McDonald's Holdings Co (2702.T) piggy-backed the Pokemon GO craze, rising 8 percent after TechCrunch reported on Tuesday the fast-food chain operator would become the game's first sponsor.

Read more: Pokemon Go: Video shows moment rare Vaporeon appears in Central Park and all hell breaks loose

TechCrunch said the sponsorship will see McDonald's 3,000-plus fast food restaurants across Japan become "gyms", or battlegrounds, for Pokemon collectors.

McDonald's Japan shares soared as much as 23 percent to their highest level since late 2001 on Tuesday, the first day of trade since its stores started giving away Pokemon-themed toys with its Happy Meals last Friday.

McDonald's Japan declined to comment on the report.


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