The height of the Pokémon Go fad has already come to a close in North America, but the game's untapped markets in Asia could still fuel a resurgence.
For many players, Pokémon Go was a passing obsession that hit fever pitch last summer, and has since been largely forgotten. However, even though its developer Niantic Inc. endeavored to give the game its widest possible reach during the peak of its popularity, the rollout of the app is still ongoing.
This week, the game was made available to budding Pokémon trainers in South Korea. Niantic announced the launch on social media, encouraging smartphone owners in the region to “get up and Go” while retweeting a post from the app’s South Korean Twitter presence.
The most recent update to Pokémon Go added Korean language support to prepare for yesterday’s release. This was designated as version number 0.53.2 on Android devices, and version 1.23.2 on iOS. Of course, it wasn’t just the translation process that caused the game to launch some six months after it made its debut in North America.
The process of releasing the game in South Korea was apparently made more challenging by the country’s restrictions on the usage of Google Maps, according to a report from Gamespot. This is one of several reasons why Pokémon Go is yet to launch in China, much to the chagrin of the scores of Pokémon fans that live there.
Similarly, many South Koreans have been eager to get their hands on Pokémon Go for some time — and some were willing to go to extreme lengths to catch a few monsters. Shortly after the game launched last summer, it was reported that players had traveled to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea in order to bypass the geographical restrictions that prevented them from playing closer to home.
Pokémon Go may have already seen the apex of its popularity in North America, but the game can remain profitable if it’s able to capture an audience elsewhere. Given that new Pokémon are finally being added to the game, now is as good a time as any for South Korean players to jump in.