Gotta Catch 'em All.

by Kensatsukan Gaijin

If you thought this week’s email was going to be about anything other than Pokemon, you probably should just un-subscribe right now.

Thursday saw the Japanese launch of the worldwide phenomenon, Pokemon Go, just in time for summer vacation in Japan.  Pokémon Go is currently available in over 30 countries, including the U.S., Canada and much of Europe, but Japan has so far been left off the list. That’s upset and frustrated a lot of true Pokémon addicts, but Niantic — which has watched the game become more popular than Twitter, Tinder and a host of other top apps — issued a formal apology this week.  Junichi Masuda, general manager of Game Freak, the video game development company responsible for the Pokémon series of role-playing video games, apologized to people in Japan for making them wait such a long time to play the game.

Pokemon already has some big friends in Japan – and big enemies, too. Niantic is augmenting the already significant revenue that the game is making from in-app purchases by allowing selective partners to become “sponsored locations” in the game. A sponsor can create “gyms” — where Pokémon can be battled or trained by gamers — at their retail store or locations, a move that could drive real-world traffic and potential sales to their business.  McDonald’s will be the first launch partner in a tie-in that will see its 3,000 plus fast food restaurants across Japan become gyms for would-be Pokémon collectors

Meanwhile, one of Japan's oldest Shinto shrines has banned the popular smartphone game Pokemon Go from its precinct.  Izumo Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, western Japan, said on its website on Friday that it imposed the ban to preserve the solemn atmosphere and to ensure the safety of visitors.

Certainly, people are both excited and also a little worried.  The Japanese government cybersecurity organization has launched a safety campaign warning of the dangers of Pokémon Go.  An information poster detailing the perils of Pokémon Go was published by a Japanese government agency in anticipation of the game’s release in Japan.   The National center of Incident readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) posted the Message for Pokémon trainers on their official Twitter and LINE accounts on the night of July 20.  The nine-point safety plan details the things to look out for once you start playing the game in Japan. 

Pokemon has also sparked another craze among investors:  Nintendo stock.   Trading in Nintendo shares roughly accounted for a quarter of the entire trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s main board this week.  Nintendo’s market valuation doubled since the launch of the game, to 4.5 trillion yen (about $45 billion)



The Guardian