Thursday 22 March 2018

Fans rejoice as Pokemon is finally Go in Japan

A man plays Pokemon Go in Tokyo's Akihabara district (AP)
A man plays Pokemon Go in Tokyo's Akihabara district (AP)

The wait is over for Pokemon Go fans in Japan.

Users began tweeting it was available on Friday morning, and the developer of the augmented reality game, US-based Niantic, confirmed its launch shortly after.

Pokemon Go is expected to be a huge success in Japan. Fans have been eagerly awaiting its release since it first came out more than two weeks ago in Australia, New Zealand and the US, and then became a blockbuster hit in more than 20 countries.

The launch in Japan includes a tie-up with McDonald's Japan that is seen as a potential expansion of its revenue base beyond the sale of in-app purchases.

The details of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but McDonald's said that about 400 stores in the country are designated as "gyms" where players can battle on their smartphones.

One of the Japanese creators of the game apologised for the delay in a video with the American head of Niantic posted on the internet.

"To everyone in Japan: I am sorry to make you wait for so long," said Jyunichi Masuda, the head of development at Game Freak, the developer of the original Pokemon game.

"Pokemon Go can now be played in Japan."

Niantic chief executive John Hanke asked users to play with care.

"When you go out to play, keep your head up, look around, enjoy the world around you and be safe," he said in the video message.

Elsewhere, there have been numerous reports of car accidents and other mishaps because people were preoccupied with playing the game.

As anticipation built toward the Japan release, the government issued nine safety-related rules on Wednesday for Pokemon Go players to follow.


Press Association

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