Pokemon Go has taken over our lives, or to be more specific our news feeds, and it’s only been a week or so and it’s only officially available in five countries – Australia, Germany, New Zealand, the US, and the UK. Three more are being added as we speak: Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Imagine how much more prevalent it will be once it reaches other markets. Well Niantic, which co-developed the augmented reality game with Nintendo, aims to expand it to 200 other markets “relatively soon”, but cannot give a specific time frame for now.
John Hanke, chief of Niantic, which is actually a spin-off company of Google, said that what they’re focusing on right now is strengthening their server capacity as more and more players are obsessively walking around their neighborhoods and looking for virtual Pokemons. Boosting their capacity is of course necessary prior to rolling out to more countries because they will be receiving complaints if their servers keep crashing. When pressed for a timeline though, Hanke would not go into specifics, except to say that their previous game Ingress, took a couple of months to reach those 200 markets.
Of course Pokemon Go is a different kind of monster, seeing the widespread interest (and criticism) that the game has garnered so everyone should be patient at the slower rollout. The game has surprisingly not gone to Japan yet, but it is coming there soon enough. South Korea is another hot country on the list, but they are working on getting around the restricted Google mapping functions (due to North Korea security issues). They would have to, as the country is the fourth biggest gaming market, after China, the US, and Japan.
Hanks said they are also looking into a sponsorship scheme, similar to the one they introduced in Ingress. Brands and retail stores can officially be part of the game as a designated spot where Pokemons can be captured. The sponsors will have to pay Niantic for every customer visit so this can be another revenue stream for them, aside from in-app purchases.
Starting now, Trainers in Italy, Spain, and Portugal can download Pokémon GO officially from the Play Store or App Store.
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) July 15, 2016