Pokemon fans in China will not be able to play the hit Pokemon Go any time soon. Following an investigation by the Chinese government, Pokemon Go will not be allowed in the country over security and safety concerns.
Pokemon Go is an augmented reality mobile game that allows for users to capture and train virtual Pokemon. The game works by using Google Maps technology, which is currently blocked in China.
Initially, Reuters reports that the Chinese government said the game would not be licensed until the app was evalated and measured for potential security and safety risks. Some of the risks included a potential threat to government information and the safety of Pokemon Go users.
But, the reasoning over safety concerns may be warranted. There have been several reports of Pokemon Go users getting targeted by robbers. For instance, last July, criminals lured Pokemon Go players using the app’s geolocation features. Consequently, four people in O’Fallon, Missouri were robbed. Then in Arizona a family abandoned their child to play Pokemon Go. Not to mention, several men fell off an ocean cliff in California after trying to catch a Pokemon.
Despite being banned in China, Pokemon Go was a hit in the US. In fact, Niantic, the company behind Pokemon Go, in the app’s first month the company earned $200 million in app sales.
However, Niantic has struggled to keep users interested. A Forbes report found that nearly 80% of the paying players have since quit the game. In order to keep fans absorbed into the app the company has introduced themed driven events and it appears to be paying off. For example, a recent Halloween-themed event increased the company’s revenue by over 100%.
It’s interesting to point out that other apps such as Candy Crush Saga have done extremely well in China. In fact, a recent study found that 7.3% of Candy Crush players in China were actually addicted to the mobile game.