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

It's more than four months since Niantic's viral game "Pokemon Go" was released. It was initially launched in a few countries but later expanded to over 100 regions, and the craze for it was like madness at one point of time. There were reports of players disrupting traffic, meeting with accidents, bumping into death body etc. The game witnessed 25 million downloads on July 14 and a record 75 million downloads in just 19 days, but the story is not the same today. Its popularity fell as fast as its rise, with the number of active users falling from 50.2 million on August 12 to 32.4 million on September 10.

"Pokemon Go" is a free augmented reality (AR) mobile phone game for iOS and Android platforms. It lets players catch virtual characters in real life environment and uses real-time geospatial technologies and Google's map data to play.

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People in several regions where "Pokemon Go" was not released resorted to playing the game through APK files and VPN (Virtual Private Networks) before they too were banned. It was also reported that gamers in South Korea flooded to the border area of North Korea to play the game. That was the level of craze on the game at one point of time, but it took a nose dive after a few weeks. A few new updates have boosted the popularity of the game again but that may not last long.

Surprisingly, Niantic hasn't released the game to some of the biggest gaming markets like India, China, and South Korea. It is not known if it will be released in South Korea at all over the country's restriction on the use of real-time geospatial technologies, which is required to play the game. However, some reports have suggested that the game might come to the country late.

As for India, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Gujarat High Court seeking a ban on "Pokemon Go" claiming that its release in the country could hurt religious sentiments of certain communities, but the court is unlikely to ban the game. There won't be issues for its release in China too as Hong Kong has already got it.

So, what is stopping Niantic from releasing "Pokemon Go" at least in India and China even if it is not possible in South Korea?

Well, the developers of the game haven't given any reason for the delay in the release of the game in these countries but it won't come as a surprise if the launch comes when the craze completely dies down with an aim to revive it.