Pokemon GO Is Now Launched In South Korea: Better Late Than Never

( [email protected] ) Jan 25, 2017 02:01 AM EST
Pokemon GO, the Augmented Reality (AR) mobile game that took the world by storm when released last year, in finally available in South Korea for all and sundry to enjoy.
Pokemon Go on Windows smartphone Windows Central

There are not too many people who have not yet given Pokemon GO a go (pardon the pun) on their respective smartphones and tablets since 2016. However, you might be surprised to hear that a developed country such as South Korea have not yet obtained Pokemon GO as a playable title. Yes, this Augmented Reality (AR) mobile game which was all the rage for the better part of 2016, has finally arrived on the shores of South Korea. Better late than never would be the appropriate adage that can be applied in such a situation, and this smash hit of a mobile game has at long last, reached the shores of South Korea half a year after its global release. Is there a reason for the delay? A very real threat in the form of security fears concerning Google Maps.

Pokemon GO is a collaboration between Nintendo and Niantic Inc., and it needs Google Maps in order to function. However, in many areas of South Korea, many of these Google Maps functions have been limited by the government. The logic behind that is simple -- South Korea and North Korea are both at war with each other technically speaking, and hence, many of Google Maps’ functions have to be disabled for national security reasons. How did Niantic or Pokemon Korea get around this particular stumbling block? There were no specifics mentioned, but it was said that they “used various publicly accessible data sources."

Lim Jae Boem, chief executive of Pokemon Korea, shared, "We have waited very long and worked very hard to launch Pokemon Go in South Korea." We are quite sure that this particular sentiment is well understood by grateful Pokemon GO trainers in South Korea who are now able to enjoy this title.

With the release of Pokemon GO in South Korea, you can see swarms of people heading out even though it is in the thick of winter at the moment. Public places and parks that would normally be rather quiet saw large crowds gather, hoping to snag that particular Pokemon on the loose in order to train it up. The streets of Seoul has also seen many folks walking with their smartphones in front of their faces -- not texting or making video calls, but rather, to hunt for Pokemon.

The release of Pokemon GO in South Korea is a milestone that should be noted. After all, after China, the US and Japan, South Korea ranks as the fifth largest gaming market in the world, so that goes so to say a lot about the “victory” that Nintendo and Niantic Labs have achieved by penetrating this market. This particular statistic hails from the Amsterdam-based research firm that is known as Newzoo.

Certainly making headway into the fifth largest gaming market in the world will boost the coffers of Nintendo, taking into consideration how a large number of Pokemon GO trainers do not mind forking out some dough to purchase in-game add-ons to augment and speed up their Pokemon training sessions. We will also see less foolhardy actions by Pokemon GO fans with an official release of the game. After all, it was in July last year that several impatient Pokemon fans made their way to Sokcho, a city that is located close to the border with North Korea. This particular area is not represented as South Korean territory in Google Maps, allowing it to be played.

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