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Nintendo is fighting unofficial downloads of ‘Pokémon Go’ (good luck with that)

The world has gone potty for Pokémon Go in a way no one could have expected when it landed on the scene just nine days ago.

The problem is, the game’s staggered launch, the result of a server overload a couple of days after launch, has left millions around the world pulling their hair out waiting for the official release in their country. Its lack of availability in Singapore is even known to have cost one man his job.

Related: With success comes … robberies? 10 side effects of Pokémon Go’s popularity

Not surprisingly, the situation has left many of those who’re desperate to play Pokémon Go hitting torrent sites to download copies of the game. Keen to control its global rollout – at the time of writing it’s available in just eight countries – Nintendo has been sending takedown notices to Google asking it to remove search results that link to unauthorized copies of the location-based augmented reality game, though millions of downloads have clearly already taken place.

“The internet is littered with unauthorized Pokémon Go files and guides explaining how to install the game on various platforms,” TorrentFreak reported on Thursday, adding that research published at the start of the week showed that more than 6.3 percent of all Android smartphones in each of Canada and the Netherlands – countries where Pokémon Go isn’t yet available – already have the game loaded up.

A word of warning, though, for anyone tempted to download the unauthorized Pokémon Go files – watch out for malware. We heard earlier this week how researchers have already spotted at least one malicious version of the game, so the advice is to wait till it turns up in your Google Play or iOS store to ensure you get the genuine version. If you’ve already downloaded it from a torrent site, this article will show you how to check it’s safe.

Pokémon Go is currently – and not surprisingly – the most shared game on torrent site The Pirate Bay, a situation unlikely to change until the game rolls out to more countries around the world.

Following its stalled start, Creator Niantic is beginning to ramp up efforts to get the game to more people. Landing initially for Android and iOS users in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, the creature-catching game has since launched in Germany and the U.K., and on Friday landed in Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

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