Pokémon Go was, without question, one of the biggest hits of 2016, helping many a gamer discover, or rediscover, the Pokémon franchise and encouraged millions to go out and walk. However, with so many people out and about exploring, a few issues did arise. The vast majority of players were undoubtedly fine, but there were isolated incidences of players trespassing, getting mugged, or even hurting themselves while trying to get to hard to reach areas. Unfortunately for Chinese gamers, these potential problems are keeping the game from getting the go-ahead from their government.
China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television is responsible for licensing games for local release, and they have come out with their decision not to allow the game in the country. Their statement not only expresses concern for the “safety of people’s lives and property” but a potential impact on national security. The statement also specified issues with “geographical information security” due to Google Maps integration, and transportation concerns likely inspired by reports of gamers playing while driving.
One would think that developer Niantic wouldn’t be too pleased to hear it wouldn’t be able to release its game in its current state in the world’s most populous country, but the company’s response was simply that it is “focused elsewhere at the moment.”