Pokémon Go is finally out but not yet in Philippines

Nintendo’s augmented reality game Pokémon GO has been finally released on the both the iOS and Android platform but only on selected countries. The download first became available on New Zealand and Australia followed by Japan and USA. It is the second effort of Nintendo to make their titles appear in other platform aside from their proprietary consoles.

Photo: Pokemon GO screenshot

Pokémon GO developer Niantic Labs and The Pokémon Company, take the title’s development into a whole new level from what it usually originated. The game now uses your smartphone camera and sensors along with the GPS to effectively create Pokémon characters in the real world with the use of augmented reality. In this manner, users will be required to wander around places to catch the creatures and train them. This also sets the opportunity for the users to meet other people to perform Pokémon trades and battle.

Photo: Pokemon GO screenshot

From Apple App Store release notes:

  • Search far and wide for Pokémon and items—Certain Pokémon appear near their native environment—look for Water-type Pokémon by lakes and oceans. Visit PokéStops, found at interesting places like museums, art installations, historical markers, and monuments, to stock up on Poké Balls and helpful items.
  • Catching, hatching, evolving and more—As you level up, you’ll be able to catch more-powerful Pokémon to complete your Pokédex. You can add to your collection by hatching Pokémon Eggs based on the distances you walk. Help your Pokémon evolve by catching many of the same kind.
  • Take on Gym battles and defend your Gym—As your Charmander evolves to Charmeleon and then Charizard, you can battle together to defeat a Gym and assign your Pokémon to defend it against all comers.

When you first launch the game, you will be asked to create and customize a virtual avatar of yourself followed by the tutorial about the mechanics of the game like using your smartphone’s camera to capture your first Pokémon. Currently, the game doesn’t support Game Center as it will require users to register only using Google account.

“During gameplay, Pokémon Go players will be encouraged to join one of three teams and engage in Gym battles with other teams. Once they have joined a team, players will have the ability to assign their Pokémon to empty Gyms. Like PokéStops, Gyms can be found at real locations in the world, and because only one Pokémon per player can be placed at a given Gym, team members will need to work together to build a strong defense. A Gym claimed by one team can be challenged by the other two teams.” – the press release notes

The company also introduced a dedicated wrist-worn Bluetooth wearable which notifies the users on certain in-game events like the appearance of a Pokémon in the user’s vicinity. Watch the game trailer video below.

Blocked in the Philippines

Shortly after the release, Filipinos managed to get hold of the game’s cracked APK which made it possible for users to take advantage and install it on their Android devices. Users were able to enjoy the few hours of the much-awaited game until the company decided to take its action. Since Philippines is not yet included on the list of countries to have the public release, the company decided to block the country’s access to its game server.

Photo: Pokemon GO screenshot blocked in Philippines
Photo showing the server error message to users in the Philippines

It’s still unclear on when the Pokémon Go will launch on some other countries but some may not know that prior to the release of the game, the company has performed several field-testing on the countries where it currently became available. Niantic Labs had invited beta testers from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and US in order to conduct field-testing during the game development. This could be the reason why the company decided to block the access of other countries to its game server to avoid negative impressions and experience on users. Knowing that the game is using GPS and built in maps to place and locate not only the Pokémon creatures but as well as landmarks like the PokéStops and Gyms we can conclude that the game will need the country’s geolocation data to properly calibrate the game environment.

For all my fellow Filipino gamers, let’s keep the hope that the game will be released and become available in the Philippines soon.

What do feel about the company’s action in blocking other countries access to the game? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.