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Japanese Waiting for Pokemon Go Face More Disappointment

  • Associated Press

FILE - Pokemon Go is displayed on a cell phone in Los Angeles, California, July 8, 2016.

FILE - Pokemon Go is displayed on a cell phone in Los Angeles, California, July 8, 2016.

Japanese fans eagerly awaiting the launch of Pokemon Go in the character's country of birth faced another day of disappointment Wednesday.

Tech media reports that the augmented-reality game would finally be released in Japan, two weeks after its launch in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, turned out to be incorrect. That left gamers in Akihabara, Tokyo's center for all things tech, still pining to start catching Pokemon in their neighborhoods.

“I don't want to miss the wave,'' said 11th-grader Mayo Uesugi.

Souta Horime, 16, expressed impatience. “There are people who have achieved a high score abroad, so I hope it gets released in Japan soon,'' he said.

Pokemon Go is available in more than 20 countries, mostly in Europe and North America. It's not clear why it has yet to debut in most of Asia.

Serkan Toto, a games industry consultant in Tokyo, said Pokemon itself may be Japanese in origin, but Pokemon Go' is an American-developed game with Japanese characters layered on it. He also pointed out reports that the release may be delayed because of fears of server outages, which have disrupted the game elsewhere.

“Nowhere in the world are the mobile gamers, the end consumers, as critical as in Japan. In the U.S., people are accustomed to slow networks, to server outages,'' he said.

Motomasa Takahashi, 21, said he is fascinated with the game and unhappy that it has been released in other countries but not Japan, even though it is the birthplace of Pokemon.

He added that he would be careful playing the game, after seeing reports of accidents related to Pokemon Go. A driver who crashed into another car in Fall City, Washington, in the U.S., reportedly told authorities he was distracted by the game.

Naoki Sakuraba, 21, saw a silver lining in the delay. He is anticipating that Japanese fans will get an improved version of the game as technological glitches reported in other countries are repaired.

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