The interwebs is reeling with endless posts and updates about a new augmented reality mobile game based on a popular game franchise from the 90s, Pokémon – Pokémon Go.
What is this magical Pokémon Go app that has taken the world by storm and propelled us backwards to the Pokémon heyday in the 90s?
It is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic that was initially released on 6th July 2016 for iOS and Android devices, starting with Australasia and the US.
The game uses the GPS, clock, camera of compatible devices and allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual Pokémon who appear throughout the real world. Yes, it makes the little pocket monsters “appear” around you and encourages you to move around in the real world so that you can go and catch em all (pun intended).
Although the game is free-to-play, it supports in-app purchases of additional gameplay items such such as Poké Balls, which are needed to actually “catch” Pokémon, and for inventory upgrades.
The app’s success is through the roof.
Pokémon Go was the most downloaded smartphone app in the US in its first 3 days of release and was a boon to Nintendo’s stock value. According to TechCrunch, as of 11th July 2016, Pokémon Go has an estimated 7.5 million downloads in the US. On top of that, The Guardian reported yesterday that in the week following the game’s release, Australian servers had problems in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane due to the game’s popularity.
It is now so widespread that, aside from social media posts, the phenomenon has spurred the most bizarre (fake) news and conspiracy theories, and spun numerous memes. Heck, you’d have to be living under a very large rock somewhere completely obscure (and without internet) if you haven’t seen these:
Trust us when we say that there are more hoaxes where those came from!
Unfortunately, despite the hype, most Malaysians haven’t had the chance for a hands-on experience with the game yet as The Pokémon Company hasn’t officially rolled out the app in Asia. And because downloads are region-locked, only people in countries in which Pokémon Go has launched will be able to get the app. And with no definite launch date set, the urge is sending people to new FOMO (fear of missing out) heights.
Believe it or not, even Japan, the country that the original Pokémon creator (Satoshi Tajiri) is from, hasn’t had their share of the mobile game yet!
For U.S. and Japanese customers, Pokémon Co. says "please wait for a while" for formal launch of its AR game Pokémon GO.
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) July 6, 2016
Ah, but a recent post from Pokemon Go Asia, a blog that provides all Pokémon updates in Asia, is predicting that the augmented reality mobile game will be released in Asia within 48 hours!
The article, dated 13th July 2016, first cites recent statements from The Wall Street Journal suggesting that Pokémon Go will launch in Europe and Asia “within a few days”.
Pokemon Go Asia goes on to say that the iOS App Store refreshes every Thursdays globally, and therefore, provides an opportune time for release in both iOS and Android stores. On top of that, the Pokémon Go servers have been strengthened the past few days, increasing load capacity thus stronger.
The blog also claims that “people familiar with the plans of the game” have stated that its release is imminent.
We don’t know if Pokemon Go Asia’s claims are true, but we can’t deny that we’re excited about the app finally coming to this part of Asia. Excuse us while we charge up our power banks because we have a feeling that we’ll be needing it for many, many hours of gameplay soon!
Meanwhile, check out this adorable video of people standing around randomly in Central Park, New York playing Pokémon Go:
Pokemon GO is just insane right now. This is in Central Park. It's basically been HQ for Pokemon GO. pic.twitter.com/3v2VfEHzNA
— Jonathan (@IGIhosT) July 11, 2016
UPDATE (15th July, 9am):
Sorry to burst your bubble guys but Pokémon Go won’t be coming to this part of Asia anytime soon. In an e-mail to IGN, representatives from Niantic (the developers of Pokémon Go) said:
“The team is currently heads down working on the game. We do not have any announced plans for countries beyond New Zealand, Australia, US and Germany at the moment.
Chris Kramer, Vice President
Oh well 🙁
Meanwhile, we’ve compiled some of the funniest Pokémon Go memes from the interwebs. Check ’em out here.