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Niantic Head: Pokemon GO to be launched in Japan "very soon"

Translated from Nikkei Keizai Shimbun (Japanese):

"John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, partner-company of Nintendo and co-developer of the mobile game Pokemon GO, announced in Tokyo yesterday that the game will be released in Japan 'very soon'. This could indicate the possibility of a launch within the month of July.

It was announced in Odaiba, Tokyo at an event held yesterday for Ingress, a popular smartphone game.

Pokemon GO has already been available for download in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., the game's popularity is exploding and has become a social phenomenon. However, in the Pokemon home territory of Japan, which is the world's leading smartphone game market, it has yet to be released. Much attention for the launch of Pokemon GO in Japan has been building up."

Translator's comments:

There's been a lot of anger circulating on the internet among Pokemon fans in Japan. Yesterday, a list of 26 countries where Pokemon GO is available for download was released, and Japan not being on this list has likely drawn the ire of the Japanese gaming community. This announcement by Hanke was probably meant to calm the flames down a little, though I think it might have just added fuel to the fire, especially since there is still no specific release date or explanation as to why the game has not yet been released here. These two points, the fact that there's still no date and no explanation, are exactly what's been ticking off gamers in Japan.

UPDATE: Gamespot has reported today (July 17th U.S. time) that Hanke has clarified that the issue has to do with server capacity in Japan. He hopes for a release by the end of July, but apparently those familiar with technology matters in Japan say a mid-September launch seems more likely. Japan is notorious for being behind when it comes to information technology and adopting global standards for IT-related infrastructure and software.

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