Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Users say Pokemon GO launches in Japan, bringing hit home

Garry Little | 24 July, 2016, 13:35

The Nintendo-backed smartphone game has been a huge success, doubling the Japanese gaming company's value since it launched in the United States earlier this month.

In the game, players search for digital creatures that pop up on smartphone screens as they move through real-world locations. And, as Niantic confirmed Pokemon GO will be released in Japan soon, the country's government is prepping citizens for whatever fallout could come from the game.

"The best part is that I just got the first three (characters), I felt like, 'Yes!'" university student Shuta Saito said in Tokyo's Akihabara district, a popular spot for fans of animation and games.

McDonald's Holdings Co (Japan), which began selling Pokemon-themed meals and is expected to launch marketing through the app, surged as much as 9.1 per cent. The details of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but McDonalds said that about 400 McDonald's stores in the country are designated as "gyms" where players can battle on their smartphones.

The warnings, by the National Centre of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity, included asking users to register with "cool names that are different from real names" and cautioning them against heatstroke as they walk around in the sun. Serkan Toto, an video game consultant in Tokyo, said that, "Nowhere in the world are the mobile gamers, the end consumers, as critical as in Japan".

Keito Sato, 17, walking with school friends in Tokyo's Roppongi area, said he's been playing since he learned about the game's release via Twitter.

After weeks of stories about people in other countries running into trouble playing the game, Japanese authorities have taken precautions and issued a nine-point safety guide, in cartoon form.

As for Noaki Sakuraba, the local said he was was anticipating Pokemon GO's launch in Japan as it should go over more smoothly than its previous debuts considering the release's delay.

Niantic chief executive John Hanke asked users to play with care.

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