Pokémon GO is a wildly popular augmented reality game in the U.S., Japan, and quite a few other large markets around the globe, but it isn't available in all key markets, and Niantic wants to change that. While not currently available in countries like China or South Korea, Niantic is hoping to find a way to launch the game in those regions at some point in the future. The challenge, though, resides in the way that Goolge Maps works in both of those countries, which is limited, and as Pokémon GO's mapping system is built on Google Maps, it hasn't exactly been easy to get the game up and running in either location.
Difficulties like this haven't stopped Niantic from trying, however, and they have stated as much in a recent interview to The Wall Street Journal when they mentioned that they want to expand the game's reach and availability, but this can't happen until the they're able to find a solution that works around those limitations. With estimated earnings reaching in excess of $700 million, Pokémon GO is no doubt a big hit and could be an even larger one if it were able to break into both China and South Korea which are both major smartphone markets that have a lot of potential players.
The growth of Pokémon GO is likely set to increase as Niantic continues to add more features to the game, which now includes the buddy Pokémon following a recent update, and potentially a battle system that allows players to battle against other players, although this is something which has not yet been implemented. According to Tsunekazu Ishihara, who is the Chief Executive of The Pokémon Company (a partner of Niantic for Pokémon GO), has stated that more features, such as player-to-player battles are planned for the game in the future, but the company does not want entry-level players to feel overwhelmed, so their intention is to slowly introduce features like this to make the starting game interaction easier and more fun. How slowly is really anyone's guess, as there was no time frame given, but it serves as yet another confirmation that Niantic and The Pokémon Company have every intention of adding player-to-player battles eventually. While Pokémon GO has yet to expand to territories like China, players in areas where the game is available are now able to interact with it without having to touch their devices thanks to the recently released Pokémon GO Plus wearable, although this is not available in every market where Pokémon GO can be installed.