After launch in Japan, Pokemon Go brings smashing-hit game home


Eager Japanese rushed to their phones on Friday to start hunting as Pokemon GO, the hit Nintendo-backed smartphone game, finally launched in Japan. The game has been an unexpected success from Spain to Australia; this has doubled Nintendo’s value since the game’s launch in the United States earlier this month.

Japan, however, had been made to wait, as Niantic, the developers behind the game, and Nintendo sought to ensure servers would withstand the game’s popularity. Finally, after days of rumours, it was launched.

The augmented reality game has players out in their real life neighborhoods ‘capturing and collecting’ monsters on their smartphones as they turn up even in ordinary offices and taxis.

University students in Tokyo on their last day of classes before summer holidays did just that, jumping into the fray within moments of the launch of the game, capturing monsters as frenzy erupted between classes.

The game was created by Nintendo, Niantic and Pokemon Co, part-owned by Nintendo. Both Nintendo and Pokemon Co have undisclosed stakes in Niantic.

The Japanese government on Thursday became the latest to issue a safety warning. The country’s National Center for Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cyber security (NISC) told users of the mobile game not to use their real names.

A number of other Asian nations still await the game, including China, the world’s biggest smartphone and online gaming market. Nintendo shares, which have seen a meteoric rise in recent days, climbed in Tokyo trading on Friday but pared gains to close up under 1 percent. McDonald’s Japan ended up 4.2 percent.

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