Men pose with their mobile phone displaying the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go"
Men pose with their mobile phone displaying the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go"REUTERS/Toru Hanai

"Pokemon Go" had witnessed 75 million downloads within 19 days of its release in July, but the popularity has taken a nosedive of late with the number of users decreasing even before release in several countries, including India, China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia.

The location-based augmented reality game is not without issues. Iran has banned it citing safety concerns, and countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia have restricted playing the game at select places. There are also reports that the authorities of Des Moines city in the state of lowa are contemplating a total ban on playing Pokemon Go within city municipal limits.

The developer of the game, Niantic, had earlier said that it will be released in about 200 countries, but it is taking more time than expected. It was earlier reported that China was skeptic if the U.S. and Japan would use the game to spy on its military bases and other sensitive facilities. However, it was released in Hong Kong, giving a hint that it could be released in China soon, but it hasn't happened yet.

The game may never be released in South Korea, as the government restricts uncensored map data from overseas while the game requires Google's map data to play. So, it may take time to get the game even if it happens.

The release of "Pokemon Go" in India is also in dark. On top of that, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Gujarat high Court seeking a ban on the game for hurting the religious sentiments of certain communities. The PIL stated that Go eggs were spotted in places of worship. So, the release of the game in India could be delayed even if the developers are ready to bring it.

A similar issue has cropped up in Russia with a man being taken into police custody for playing Pokemon Go inside a church.

Nintendo and Niantic's "Pokemon Go" is currently available only for iOS and Android platforms. It uses real-time geospatial technologies and Google's map data to play, and lets players catch virtual characters in real life environment.