The state censor in China recently said that the country will not license Nintendo’s popular mobile game Pokemon Go along with some other similar titles. The reason for this are the potential security risks which these games might pose to the country and its population.
A worldwide phenomenon
Pokemon Go took the entire world by storm last year when it was released for mobile devices. Even if it was never available in China, and probably will never be, everyone still knew everything about it. China represents the biggest smartphone and online gaming market in the entire world. In case someone does not know yet what this game is really about, it goes like this. A player must walk various distances and around various real-life areas with their phone. Sometimes, the famous Pokemon monsters would appear on their phone screens and the players must throw a virtual poke-ball in order to catch them. The main idea is to have as many monsters as possible. Naturally, one would have to walk a lot to find them. Players can also duel themselves using their pokemons.
However, like any other highly popular thing, Pokemon Go has had its fair deal of criticism. Many blamed the mobile game for road accidents, some even with victims, and injured people. Others have expressed their concerns in what regards the game’s use of geolocation, which tracks every player constantly. They have said that it is actually a tool used to spy on people at all times. It seems like these issues reached the ears of the Chinese state censor which may not license the game in the country after all.
Safety above all
Together with China ‘s state censor, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television is taking care that the departments of the government are thoroughly evaluating the risks this game might bring to the country. According to them, the safety of the people in China and the care for national security are the most important factors to be taken into consideration when dealing with such a situation.
On a post on their website, the Chinese state censor said that the risks of the game may vary from the complaints regarding the geolocation used by the game at all times to threats to people’s lives. Also, transportation. There have been numerous reports concerning careless drivers who were catching Pokemon monsters instead of watching the road. This is why Nintendo announced that the game will no longer function if the player surpasses a certain speed limit.
The problem is that there are many companies from China which have started developing augmented reality games which resemble Pokemon Go, with the geolocation and everything. This is why the state censor wants to ban those too. Moreover, Pokemon Go heavily depends on the Google services and on Maps, which are both banned in China. So, it would be impossible for the game to function anyway. We will see if the Pokemon craze will swallow China too. For the moment, this is highly unlikely as the country will most probably not license the game.
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