In 2016 it was hard not to get swept up Pokémon GO phenomenon as it toured across the globe. Tens of millions of players joined the hunt to "catch them all" by venturing out into the world and exploring it.
Pokémon GO introduced a new style of gaming that many fans of the series have only dreamed of: an augmented reality where we could 'interact' with our beloved Pokémon.
Niantic Studios was hoping to capitalize on the largest gaming market that was still untapped: China. With a population of over 1.3 billion, it makes sense for the country to be the next target for licensing.
The only problem with targeting China for gaming distribution, is that it is incredibly difficult to be licensed with the amount of governmental control the leadership has over what's allowed or not. And China wants nothing to do with Pokémon GO hitting the streets.
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China has officially made their statement against Pokémon GO, citing that allowing the game would cause "major safety and security issues to the country, as well as a threat to transportation and personal safety."
China's Stance Isn't Exactly Unfounded
Considering how many accidents have occurred across the world as a result of players being so consumed with catching Pokémon that they missed the signs of cliffs, cars, rivers, lakes and the occasional Muk. It's easy to see why China may think a game like Pokémon GO would be a danger to its population.
Yet the real reason for the banning lies heavily on the access to geographical information, which is at the core of China's security policy.
What Will This Mean Moving Forward For China?
For China? - Nothing really, as they will just go about business as normal. But for game developers, it could be a much bigger issue. There are several developers building games similar to Pokémon GO, which likely means that they won't be available in China; not even the games being developed in China.
But maybe a game will be developed that utilizes the Augmented Reality model without actually needed to access geographical locations.
What do you think? Are you surprised that 'Pokémon GO' was banned in China?