"Pokemon Go," the sensational AR mobile game, has gone live in almost 60 countries worldwide, but it is unfortunate that the game has not been released in India, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, China and other Asian countries despite these countries having high density of mobile gamers and Pokemon fans. The Asian release of the game is long overdue, as it has been almost a month since it was initially released on July 6.
Japan and Hong Kong are the only two Asian countries where players can hunt, catch, train virtual Pokemon in real world situations.
Players in the Asian countries had to remain satisfied by playing the game on APK files. But Niantic soon deployed geo-block in these countries, thus rendering these illegal apps ineffective. Players would see empty maps on their screens.
Reddit threads monitoring the situation have claimed that the Asian countries are still under the geo-block.
Niantic announced on Aug. 4 that Central and South American countries will get to play the game before their counterparts in Asia.
The release in Latin American countries has boosted the possibility of "Pokemon Go" getting released soon in Asia. Though it might be safe to predict that the hit game might be released in August to countries like India, Singapore, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Philippines; it is not known if it will be over the weekend or would face further delays.
Probable reasons for the game's delay
Niantic CEO John Hanke took to Twitter to speak up on the issue of the delay in release in the other counties. He noted that the company was working hard to keep up their servers functional, and added that the third party apps that gained access to the servers had "hurt" their ability to release the game in new countries.
The decision to block them provided them with the resources required for its release in Latin American countries.
Hanke noted that the delay is further compounded by the fact that developers have to spend time to control such situations, rather than build new features. The commercial ventures of some fans have had a "negative impact" on the game resources, he said.
These reasons from Hanke make us believe that there might be a delay in the game's Asia release as Niantic might be looking to have a robust system in place to tackle bots, cheaters and hackers. Further, nowhere in the article has he ever mentioned about a possible Asia release.
Meanwhile, the release of the game in some Asian countries comes with implications over security issues.
As reported earlier, "Pokemon Go" might not be released in South Korea as the government and Google seem to be crossing swords on the issue of using censored map. South Korean government wants to enforce a restriction on using uncensored map data, while Google seems unwilling to go along.
Many had predicted the game's release in China would follow its Hong Kong roll out. But that did not happen. The Chinese have been sceptical that the game might be used by the United States and Japan to spy on its military bases and other sensitive facilities.
Thailand's telecom regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, has put the game under its scanner after reports emerged of mugging, murder and several untoward incidents in countries where the game was released. It was reported that the government was worried about citizens being careless when playing the game.
A lawyer has claimed that Niantic used his patent in the game, and has sued the company. The court case might lead to delay in its release in Taiwan.
Reasons to believe it would be released over the weekend
We have seen some promotional activities for the game sprouting up in Asian countries (especially with regards to car-sharing apps like Ola and Grab).
India and several Asian countries have long been added to the server list. The addition is an indication that the developers are preparing for the game to be released in these countries. The company has not set a deadline for its India or Asia release, but speculations have suggested that it could be sometime in the first half of August.
Meanwhile, Indian Twitter users are posting their opinions on the game and requesting Niantic to release the game in India with the hashtag #BringPokemonGOtoIndia.