China Bans Niantic’s Pokemon Go

Nintendo’s Pokemon Go and other augmented reality games are unlikely to be rolled out in China any time soon, following the state censor said until potential security risks have been assessed, Chinese government would not license them.

Although not yet accessible China, the entire world’s biggest smartphone and online gaming market, the location-based game produced by U.S.-based Niantic took the world by storm when it was released last year.

pokemon-go

The game requires players to walk around real life neighborhoods to hunt and get virtual characters on their smartphone displays.

While data privacy concerns over the geolocation app have also stirred controversy, but Pokemon Go has been blamed for road accidents, many of them fatal, involving preoccupied players.

Prompted by “a higher level of responsibility to national security and the safety of people’s lives and property,” the censor, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, is coordinating with other government departments to gauge the game’s dangers, an industry body said.

Some Chinese firms have been developing games that were similar depending on augmented reality and location-based services, prompting the panel to seek advice from the best licensing body, it said.

The game relies on Google services such as the Google Maps program, which are unaccessible in China.

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