"Pokemon Go," the hit AR mobile game from Niantic, made its Asian debut when it was released in Japan on July 22. Japan is the home of Pokemon and players were instantly hooked to the game, after its release in the country.
Rumours had suggested that the game was delayed after a leaked email from McDonald's (in-game gym location sponsors) went viral. The company apparently had to delay it to minimise the overload on its servers.The delay in release prompted Niantic, the company behind the game, and Game Freak to issue an apology to fans.
An apology video from Junichi Masuda, the General Manager of Game Freak, and John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic, was posted on the Pokemon website. The two are seen speaking in Japanese and English, respectively.
The video opens with Masuda apologising to Japanese fans over the delayed release, which made players wait for a long time.
Later, Hanke addresses viewers by saying that it is the desire of the company to be "true to the spirit of the original Pokemon game." He also cautioned players against any accidents, asking them to look around and be safe.
Masuda concludes the video by asking players to "stick to the rules and have fun."
Prior to the game's release, Japan's National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) had issued a nine point illustrations chart on the safety and prevention against potential trouble that might arise from the game.
Reports revealed that the "Pokemon Go" app took the lead spot on the chart of top grossers at Japan's iOS App Store. Normally a top grosser earns $2 to 3 million per day but this app is expected to make $4.2 million per day, even though it is a free-to-play gaming app. The game allows players to buy consumable items in-game using real money.
Meanwhile, soon after the release of "Pokemon Go" in Japan, players noticed that they have been finding "Pokemon Go" gym locations at some of the most unusual places, which included Nariyama-koen Station in Saitama Prefecture (ordinary looking), Keisei-Takasago Station in Katsushika (station), Kyoto University, Ritsumeikan University, Hirosaki Castle in Aomori Prefecture (old castle), The Yumenoshima Tropical Plant Dome, fire Pokemon on Japan's Sakurajima volcano, Legendary ice bird Articuno on Mount Fuji, Lapras in Lake Yamanaka and so on.
"Pokemon Go" in Japan has McDonald's as a sponsored partner, so there are "sponsored locations" too — about 3,000 odd outlets of the fastfood chain.