Pokémon Go might be an extremely popular augmented reality game all over the world, but it is not found anywhere in China, and it won’t be found there for some time to come. Reuters reported recently that government officials in China have indicated that they will not license it or similar apps “until potential security risks had been evaluated.”
Why is Pokémon Go banned in China?
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality app with a location-based setup. Hence, it encourages movement and activity, as players are required to hunt and capture Pokémon. The game did get some praise in the beginning because it made players give up on their sedentary lifestyles, but it also saw its fair share of controversy.
The game and its distracted players have been held responsible for several car accidents, while some Pokémon appeared in rather questionable places. These factors led the Chinese government to feel that the game has a high level of responsibility to national security and the safety of people’s lives and property. Therefore, it is examining the potential risks the game poses.
A game panel of the China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association indicated that the threats to geographical information security and transport and the personal safety of consumers are included in these so-called risks. Google Maps might be another cause of concern for China, as Niantic relies on data from it. The navigation app is not available in China.
Another unspoken reason for the ban could be the Japanese connection with the game. China only recently allowed sales of foreign consoles in the country, “and many Chinese still bristle at the idea of Japanese technology being sold in Chinese territory,” reported Forbes.
Other games also facing the brunt
Almost all the parts of the world have the viral AR game available, except for China. Since China is the biggest mobile market in the world and the largest online gaming market, it is a major problem for Niantic.
Niantic has yet to comment on China’s ban of the game. Also the Chinese government’s ultimate decision on the fate of Pokémon Go is still awaited.
It’s not just Pokémon Go that has gotten negative attention in China. Its popularity has inspired many Chinese companies to create similar apps that rely on location-based services and augmented reality. The Chinese government said that the influx of potentially dangerous gameplay prompted the review.