Although people in various world markets have now been playing Pokemon GO for weeks, the game has only just launched in Japan.
The delay is slightly strange given the fact that Pokemon in fact hail from Japan, but now Japanese gamers can get chasing the creatures in augmented reality smartphone game Pokemon GO. The difference in Japan is that the game has been launched in conjunction with fast food chain McDonald’s.
McDonald’s has been offering Pokemon toys with children’s meals and there are set to be a number of sponsored events taking place. There will also be sponsored locations, much as there were for Ingress, another location-based game that came before Pokemon GO.
Ingress had partnerships with companies such as McDonald’s and SoftBank in Japan, and Jamba Juice in the United States. It seems likely that there will be sponsored locations for Pokemon GO as its makers attempt to make some money from the free app, but what exactly are they?
In other markets gamers congregate around Pokestops and Gyms that are typically sites of cultural interest, such as churches. However in Japan it looks like these gaming points will be made at McDonalds restaurants throughout Japan, of which there are 3,600.
Delayed launch after concerns
The reason for the delay is that the company was concerned over poor connectivity in McDonald’s restaurants, and fears that players would hang around without buying any food or drink. However McDonalds believes that people will come together to train and catch Pokemon, especially in smaller places that don’t necessarily have cultural sites.
Shares in McDonald’s have been boosted by rumors of the collaboration. It is still not clear whether or not the collaboration will drive sales in McDonald’s restaurants, but one thing is for sure: Pokemon GO has become a phenomenon.
The Nintendo share price has soared since the release of the game, and McDonald’s must be hoping it can benefit in the same way.
Players in Japan have been warned about potential accidents when using Pokemon GO in a set of warnings from the government. The National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity has released some public safety tips on the back of a number of incidents that have affected players in other countries.
People have been crashing cars, falling into lakes and getting into all sorts of trouble as they walk around playing the game and not concentrating on their surroundings. One teenager in Guatemala was even shot dead as he played Pokemon GO.
Japanese authorities have warned against providing information that could identify individual players, suggesting that they use a pseudonym. Another concern is the proliferation of fake apps, with some found to include malware.
Another tip is to keep an eye of the weather, so you don’t get caught in a storm while you play. Not only is wet weather a concern, but players are also warned about the dangers of heatstroke. The government suggests finding a shady spot to play and drinking plenty of water and other drinks that contain salt.
Dedicated players will soon find out that Pokemon GO uses a lot of battery life. Authorities suggest taking an extra charger or battery pack if you want to play for long periods of time.
In order to stay safe you should take a phone card for public pay phones. If your smartphone runs out of battery it is important to be able to stay in touch.
Other tips are common sense, including staying out of dangerous areas and being wary of fellow players who propose meeting in real life.