The Pokémon GO game has swept across the world quicker than a virus. It was first officially released in North America, New Zealand and Australia and has already captured huge numbers of players – it quickly overtook Twitter as a commonly used application or service. For the uninitiated, Pokémon GO is an augmented reality treasure hunt game. Players must travel to different locations on the map to find the Pokémon monsters. When one is close to a monster, the smartphone switches to show the view from the camera and any Pokémon monster. Once you have spotted a monster, to capture it you must fling a Pokémon ball at the creature. In addition to Pokémon monsters, there are also other features in the game including the Pokémon Gym and Pokéstops.
This week it's been the turn of the European countries to receive the official download. Earlier in the week, Germany and United Kingdom received the official release. Yesterday was the turn of Italy, Spain, Portugal to receive the download. Today, Google's Play Store has released the update for a large number of countries. Now players in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland can download and play the game. The reason why different countries have had to wait a time for their official release of Pokémon GO is because Niantic's servers were unable to keep up with demand and in order to ensure a good experience across the world, the company decided to stage the rollout. It's good to see the company start to make good their promise earlier in the week that the rest of the world would see the release in the coming days, although Japan has yet to receive the official Pokémon GO release.
If you have been patiently waiting for the release of Pokémon GO and you are in one of these countries, today's your lucky day! It would appear that Niantic believe their server overload issues are behind them as opening up the game to a large number of countries is sure to increase the service load. And finally, if you are downloading Pokémon GO today, please be mindful of some of the issues surrounding the game, such as criminals preying on inattentive players, the dangers of traffic and cliffs!