Do you want to be the very best? Like no one ever was? That’s a little easier if you live in the United States, Australia, or New Zealand because you were given at least a one week head start. People in South America and Asia are still waiting for a release date to be set for Pokémon Go to come their way.
It is hard to believe that Pokémon Go has only been around for a few weeks. Almost every newspaper, online news site, and television news program has a daily report that is a cautionary tale or issues an outright warning about the game. That’s because the nature of the game is different from most MMO apps. You don’t sit at your computer or smartphone playing with a mouse or dragging your finger over the screen. To play Pokémon Go, you have to get out and into your neighborhood to find all the critters roaming around.
Pokémon Go in the News
At first, most of the news reports were stories of players running into light poles, accidents between cars, bicycles, and pedestrians while playing the game. That led to reports on how insanely popular it had become with people of all ages.
If you listened to financial news, there was talk of the game’s popularity and in-app purchases pushing up Nintendo’s stock price (Ninantic developed the game on behalf of Nintendo). The financial online magazine, Forbes, has been keeping up with all that is going on with it not only financially but culturally as well.
Then, the warnings came about players being tricked into unsafe situations or attacked and robbed by criminals using the GPS feature in the game to stake out places where players were likely to come hunting for Charazard or (other name).
Other reports said that the app opened your phone information to the developer, threatening users’ privacy. Ninantic has since made assurances that they will fix this. There was mixed opinion among tech experts as to whether this was really a privacy problem or simply an unfortunate choice of name for that particular level of access on the part of Google. When it comes to security, the most dangerous thing might be the fake apps popping up, so be sure to only download the real Pokémon Go if you haven’t done that yet.
With all the news and excitement over the game, you would think it had been around for a year or more but it’s only been a few weeks. In the United States, the Pokémon Go app was available on smartphones on July 6, 2016. That’s the same day it went live in Australia and New Zealand.
The player response was so huge, the game’s servers were strained. Broader release was delayed until that could be managed. It was a whole week before the next roll out of the game happened in Germany, on July 13.
The next day, July 14, 2016, the United Kingdom. That was exactly three weeks after their Brexit vote, a little something to take their minds off all that, perhaps.
The rest of Europe saw the game pop up in their smartphones’ app stores over the next three days – July 15, 16, and 17. Back across the pond, Canada and Puerto Rico were able to join in on July 17 and 19, respectively.
Two countries faced unexpected delays in the release of the game to their citizens. In Japan, the scheduled date was July 20 but because someone leaked news about a McDonald’s sponsorship tied to the game, it had to be rolled back to July 22.
In France, the reason for the delay was far more distressing. The planned date was July 15, 2016. The evening of July 14, the Bastille Day terror attack took place in Nice. As the nation of France mourned, Ninantic respected that by delaying release of the game. Because of law enforcement investigations and general safety concerns, the delay lasted ten days. Pokémon Go was released in France on July 24, 2016.
So, to summarize, Pokemon Go is currently available in the following 32 countries (listed in alphabetical order):
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
Future Release Dates
When will the game come to other countries? There is no firm date. Rumors flew around that July 24 was the day the game would be available in Brazil. There are stories of people wanting to play so badly, they didn’t sleep that night, waiting for the game to appear in their app stores.
The mayor of Rio de Janeiro is reported to have “begged” Nintendo to release the game in Brazil before the Olympic games begin on August 5, 2016. He might be worried that some people from other countries won’t come to the games if they can’t hunt Pokémon in their free time. Who knows? There might be some Olympic athletes steeped in the game that wouldn’t want to give it up.
Seriously, I can’t imagine a competitor at that level doing something like that, but the mayor must think it is important to have the game there by the time the athletes with their friends, families, and fans come to the games. How cool would it be to watch a gymnast on the balance beam and see a Caterpie up there with her?
These Pokémon do turn up in odd places, though. A couple of weeks ago, when the game was still only a few days in release here in the USA, my son came running into the living room to show me something on his iPhone. There was a Charmander standing right in the middle of our living room! I asked him if that meant people were going to be knocking on our door to get him, and he assured me that no, maybe our front yard, but they didn’t have to come into the house to get it.
It does get him out walking more, which is part of the purpose of the game – to get people out of their houses and into their neighborhoods. There is a gym in the park a couple blocks from here, so he can try to catch some that are running around loose over there, plus Pokémon seem to be hanging out in the little mountain area right behind our neighborhood, so he is spending more time on the trails back there. Good exercise and good fun.
Back to the South America release dates, and specifically Brazil, it looks unlikely that visitors to the summer 2016 Olympics will be adding to their Pokémon Go lineup of little pocket monsters. After the Japan release, other Asian countries like India, Thailand, and the Philippines. Those releases do not have dates, are simply said to be next. Server issues continue to slow the spread of the game to other countries.
There is one rumor that appears totally alone and therefore I consider it unsubstantiated that Pokémon Go will come to “Brazil, Chile, or Argentina” on Sunday, July 31. That would be in time for the Olympic games if Brazil gets it then, but as said, that date appears in one place only while many other published reports say there is no date yet for any future release. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.
South Americans, be happy knowing the game will eventually get to you. Ninantic plans to release it in 200 countries. The only ones that will probably never get it are closed nations like North Korea and China. Still, players in those countries and in others awaiting a release date are trying hard to find a work around that lets them play versions in other places.
If you live in Asia outside of Japan, North Korea, and China, you are likely to receive the game but may have to wait a while for Pokémon Go to come to you. The game was released in Hong Kong and Singapore, but server problems caused it to be shut down. There is no release date schedule right now, though Asia is said to be next on the list.
If you aren’t already following the app’s Twitter feed, be sure to start following them to get the latest tweets on release dates and server news.
Pokémon Go Plus Release
Now, if you’re wondering about the release date of Pokémon Go Plus, that’s been delayed until September 2016. Originally announced for July 2016, the blue-tooth app lets players hunt for Pokémon without being so obvious. Right now, a player is easy to spot because she has her smartphone out in front of her as she tracks them. There are lots of safety issues inherent with that.
Pokémon Go Plus is a wearable device that you can don like a watch on your wrist or like a Star Trek communicator on your pocket. It will let you know when you’re near a Pokémon by flashing a light. Then, you take out your smartphone, find it, and slam a Poke ball at its face to catch it. When you’ve got it, put your phone back in your pocket and keep doing what you’re doing until the light flashes again.
The device will cost about $35 and is sure to be a sell out when it hits the shelves, so be sure to grab one as quick as you can when you see it. Maybe watch web sites like Amazon or Game Spot for pre-order offers.
The release of Pokémon Go seems to have hit a snag for now, but Ninantic will get this all straightened out so that they can continue their intended release to 200 countries. Since only 32 nations have it so far, that means a lot of other places are going to get it, hopefully by the end of 2016. So, just be patient; Pikachu is coming soon!