Pokemon GO is unique in a lot of ways: it's the most popular Pokemon game ever created, it's the best accepted augmented reality (AR) game in the history of the industry, and it also happens to be the most successful mobile game in the world. Apart from that, Niantic Labs' latest title also stands out by its drawn-out rollout process. Namely, when you launch a mobile game that's so successful that the sheer volume of players is crashing your servers on a daily basis and you have to plead to Google for help, you tend to be reluctant about the volume of new territories you introduce it to. That's basically what the San Francisco-based Niantic has been doing lately as it slowed the rollout process of Pokemon GO to a crawl.
However, the studio is now looking to break into some more Asian territories with a lot of potential paying customers. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the president of the Pokemon Company Tsunekazu Ishihara revealed that Pokemon GO will hopefully make its way to China and South Korea in the near future. Given the fact that the Chinese mobile market alone is predicted to be worth over $8 billion next year, one might be surprised that China wasn't one of the first countries Pokemon GO was released in. However, things aren't that simple as the location-based game relies on Google Maps data to function and Google's navigation service is severely crippled in both China and South Korea due to various government-imposed restrictions on geographic data in those countries. In fact, Google itself is unable to trade in China at all, with the Play Store not being available toChinese users, or any Googel service for that matter. While Google is spending a lot of resources lobbying in Korea whose officials may cut the company some slack in the future, chances that the Chinese government lifts geographic data restrictions are just hypothetical. In other words, Niantic will have to redesign the way Pokemon GO works if it hopes to release a functional version of the game in China.
In related news, Niantic Labs' CEO John Hanke recently revealed that his team is working on a lot of new features that are expected to add a significant amount of content and depth to the popular location-based game. Among other things, Pokemon GO will soon feature a trading system, in-game events, and player-versus-player battles.