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Pokémon GO is Coming to China

by Dylan Siegler

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One of the biggest mobile games of all time is Pokémon GO, which has had a global presence since its launch in 2016. Despite its massive popularity, there has remained one enormous untapped audience: the Chinese. China has extremely strict censorship which continues to demand that localized video games be dramatically changed to fit the government’s ideas of what is appropriate and unoffensive.

According to Forbes, Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon GO, has recently made a deal with Chinese company NetEase to bring the game into the country. As a part of the deal, Niantic will also make its previous game, Ingress, as well as its upcoming Harry Potter game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite available to play in China. This will undoubtedly mean a ton of work for Niantic, who now have to place several Gyms and PokéStops all across the country.

John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic, states, “We absolutely intend to bring our existing games into China. Beyond that, there are opportunities to build games in China, both for China and for the world.” When discussing the fact that Pokémon GO wasn’t as successful in 2017 as it was in 2016, Hanke stated, “I would say 2017 was about firing the second stage and getting into a stable orbit. 2018 is about the journey to Mars.” No specific plans for what Pokémon GO will entail in 2018 have been announced yet.

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