Nintendo’s “Pokemon Go” smartphone game may have scored instant addicts upon release in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and Germany, but fans in Japan are vexed that they have been left out with no release date announced.
“Pokemon Go has been released in several countries, but it will take a bit longer in Japan. Please wait patiently a bit longer,” tweeted Kento Suga, a marketing manager in the Asian region for Niantic Inc., which developed “Pokemon Go” with Nintendo Co. and The Pokemon Company. That was on July 6, the day the title stampeded into three of the four other countries.
Many Twitter users responded angrily.
“I can’t wait,” blurted out user @Pokeemon_.
User @aeguev said: “How long is ‘a bit longer’? How many weeks, how many months? I envy my friends who live abroad.”
“The release date is still uncertain,” a Pokemon Company spokeswoman told The Japan Times on Wednesday.
However, the popular blog Pokemon Go Asia reported the same day that “Pokemon Go” is “finally set to be rolled out in Asia within the next 48 hours.” This forecast appeared to be based on the fact that “the iOS App Store refreshes every Thursday globally,” and “servers have been strengthening the past few days, increasing load capacity.”
The Pokemon Company spokeswoman noted the speculation: “There have been reports guessing at its release this week or this month, but we haven’t made an official announcement yet.”
In the game, players walk searching for and capturing characters for use in the game.
The characters sometimes appear in unexpected places, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is among venues that have appealed to visitors to desist from playing the game there.
Osaka-based writer Brian Ashcraft, who contributes to game website Kotaku, said Japan could face a similar situation.
“I think you’ll start seeing people going into stores without buying things. I can imagine people wandering into sites where they need to be respectful, such as religious sites, to catch Pokemon,” he said, recommending that the game be adjusted to keep users away from inappropriate places.
He said otherwise residents may complain and the police may get tied up with issuing warnings.
Negative aspects aside, the Tourism Planning Division of the city of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, is already hoping that “Pokemon Go” will attract travelers.
The city has already held several promotional events using “Ingress,” a location-based territorial game by Google that is played in a similar way to “Pokemon Go.”
Eriko Furusaki, an official of the division said the last event, held in April, was a great success. It attracted 375 users nationwide, with some hailing from as far away as Okinawa.
It is possible that a “Pokemon Go” event will be held in Yokosuka, but “we must look into details and will consider this further after its launch,” she said.
She tells participants to “avoid using smartphones when walking,” something “Pokemon Go” players, too, should keep in mind.