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More disappointment for Japanese waiting for 'Pokemon Go'

Satoshi Sugiyama

Associated Press

Tokyo  /  Thu, July 21, 2016  /  09:32 am
More disappointment for Japanese waiting for 'Pokemon Go'

In this Monday, July 18, 2016 photo, a stuffed toy of Pikachu, a Pokemon character, is surrounded by children during a Pokemon festival in Tokyo. "Pokemon Go," a compulsive smartphone game has not been made available to the Japanese public yet as of Wednesday, July 20, 2016, as a rumor circulated on the internet that it would come out on that day. (AP/Koji Sasahara)

Japanese fans eagerly awaiting the launch of "Pokemon Go" in the character's country of birth faced another day of disappointment Wednesday.

Tech media reports that the augmented-reality game would finally be released in Japan, two weeks after its launch in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, turned out to be incorrect. That left gamers in Akihabara, Tokyo's center for all things tech, still pining to start catching Pokemon in their neighborhoods.

"I don't want to miss the wave," said 11th-grader Mayo Uesugi.

Souta Horime, 16, expressed impatience. "There are people who have achieved a high score abroad, so I hope it gets released in Japan soon," he said.

"Pokemon Go" is available in more than 20 countries, mostly in Europe and North America. It's not clear why it has yet to debut in most of Asia.

(Read also: Pokemon Go officially available in 26 new countries)

Serkan Toto, a games industry consultant in Tokyo, said Pokemon itself may be Japanese in origin, but "Pokemon Go" is an American-developed game with a Japanese character or characters layered on it. He also pointed out reports that the release may be delayed because of fears of server outages, which have disrupted the game elsewhere.

"Nowhere in the world are the mobile gamers, the end consumers, as critical as in Japan. In the U.S., people are accustomed to slow networks, to server outages," he said.

Motomasa Takahashi, 21, said he is fascinated with the game and unhappy that it has been already released in other countries but not Japan, even though it is the birthplace of Pokemon.

He added that he would be careful playing the game, after seeing reports of accidents related to "Pokemon Go." A driver who crashed into another car in Fall City, Washington in U.S., reportedly told authorities he was distracted by the game.

Naoki Sakuraba, 21, saw a silver lining in the delay. He is anticipating that Japanese fans will get an improved version of the game as technological glitches reported in other countries are repaired.


Associated Press writer Ken Moritsugu contributed to this story.

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