Earlier today, Japanese fans were enthralled to finally have their patience rewarded as the franchise that is so symbolic to Japan and to Asia finally made its way back to its motherland. With Pokemon GO launching in Japan it was also announced that McDonalds will be the first company to officially have a tie-in with the game as its outlets are turned into Poke Gyms and PokeStops. In response to this, McDonalds has said it requests gaming customers to not disturb paying customers. However, the effect of such a tie-up has yet to be seen and studied before more such implementations can be made.
In what has been a very baffling move by a gaming company, Niantic has not only been silent about the rollout plans, but also kept users in the dark regarding update change logs and server down time problems. Even more baffling was the decision to launch Pokemon in Asia after the Western nations have been covered — an issue that has drawn the ire of not only Asian but also European fans, with both sides coming to a consensus that Japan and South-East Asia should have been the launch point for Pokemon GO, given that these nations are the birthplace of the fan base and popularity that is associated with the game.
The more diplomatic fans have pointed out that the update to Pokemon GO, launched hours before the official Japanese launch could mean that the Asian’s would be the first fan base to receive a stable version of the game before they commence playing. Though diplomatic in the delivery, this point does miss out on one key element — nostalgia. The nostalgic effect of this game has turned many 20-something year olds into teenagers again as they spend hours as a zombie on their smartphones.
Further fuelling the craze behind Pokemon GO has been the augmented reality aspect of the game which has great user engagement. The game requires you to ‘find’ Pokemon (Pocket Monsters) in the world around you, even popping up at the most unusual places, there is no denying that there is a level of excitement and fun that other games are unable to bring. Most of all, one can now live as though in the real Pokemon world, own PokéGyms and more.
Players fight other trainers at these Gyms in order for their team to gain control over it. These battle also give points that can be used to Power Up and Evolve your Pokemon. At PokéStops, players can collect more Pokéballs and other in-game freebies such as lures that they can use to their advantage. Gyms and PokéStops are found in locations such as national monuments and landmarks, which are increasingly becoming ad hoc meeting places as players connect both online and offline. Though for now the trading and PVP battle aspect has not been included yet, there is hope of it being added to the game in time to come.
Whatever Niantic’s official reason to the delays in launch and avoiding Asia for 2 weeks are, we shall never know, given their absolute media silence. What we do know is this, Pokemon GO has finally made it to Asia, and it is only a matter of time before the rest of Asia gets to enjoy this game. McDonalds has become the first company to have a tie-in and this is just the beginning of how more companies will use this game and in future, other games to not only promote their location, but also fill empty seats. Apart from this, we are too afraid to speculate more, since Niantic does have a penchant for letting those in Asia feel let down.
Download: Pokemon GO