Japan, Asia Pokémon Go Release Postponed Again

Japan, Asia Pokémon Go Release Postponed Again
Photo Credit: Toru Hanai/ REUTERS/ 達志影像

What you need to know

The game’s release on Wednesday was cancelled again due to fears that the surge of players would overload game-maker Niantic's servers.

Pokémon Go players in Japan were once again disappointed as game-maker Niantic postponed the game’s release on Wednesday due to fears that the surge of players would overload their servers.

The news began to circulate on 2ch, a Japanese version of Reddit, and was reported by Tech Crunch, after internal communications with the McDonald’s Japan, the game’s sponsor, were leaked. The launch, originally scheduled for Wednesday morning, was postponed to early afternoon, and then canceled.

McDonald’s Japan is also turning 3,000 branches into “gyms” for players to battle each other once the game is released. The fast-food chain will become the first paying sponsor for Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go’s Asian release has been eagerly anticipated since the game’s launch on July 6 in the U.S. The game was released in most countries on July 11, but players in Taiwan, South Korea and China soon reported being unable to play the game.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the game’s Japan release, the Japanese government has released 9 warnings to players, including reminders to protect their private information, to be wary of hackers and fake accounts, to bring spare batteries, and to take note of the weather before going out to catch Pokémon.

Niantic has yet to announce an official release date for Asia, but Japan is rumored to be the first country in Asia where the game will be launched, then expanded to other countries in the region. The company has continued a steady rollout of the game in Europe, launching in 26 more countries including Austria, Belgium, and Denmark.

Pokémon Go has reached unprecedented levels of popularity, surpassing 30 million downloads and generating more than US$35 million in revenue just two weeks after its U.S. debut.

Players have also found ways to cash in on the game’s popularity, with accounts being sold on eBay for up to US$1,500, as well as ads for “professional Pokémon trainers” at US$20-30 in New York City.

While there have been several instances of accidents due to players being overly focused on the game, others have tapped into its popularity to encourage players to do good, such as an animal shelter in Indiana, which seeks to enlist avid players to walk dogs due for adoption, and a children’s hospital in Michigan, which is using it as physical therapy for children.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole