South Koreans don't let geographic restrictions stop them from playing Pokemon Go — they just travel to the DMZ

south koreans play pokemon go along dmz
Creative Commons
Pokémon Go has apparently taken the world by storm, and certainly filled the headlines as of late. South Korea, however, does not yet have the game enabled. That has not stopped local enterprising fans of the game from finding a way hunt down pocket monsters. They just have to travel to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea to do so.

Since the game’s release, busloads of South Koreans have been making the trek to catch Pokémon at the only place they can — in the area along the DMZ, according to The Wall Street JournalPokémon Go is not technically available in South Korea, and until it is, Niantic has set up geographical restrictions for the game. These include diamond-shaped spatial indexing grids that cover most of the country except for a small area to the north of South Korea along the DMZ.

south koreans play pokemon go along dmz korea
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport

In South Korea, video games are on par with sports, and some pro gamers experience fame not unlike athletic superstars in the U.S. With that in mind, it is not surprising that competitive players in the country found the glitch and traveled to exploit it and get ahead of the curve.

Local residents responded to the influx of players by setting up additional Wi-Fi hot spots and advertising their town’s amenities to attract as much of the Pokémon tourism craze as possible. One town set up a Twitter site with a video touting the town’s great Wi-Fi and local food, such as a sausage made of squid-filled pigs intestines.

A local tourist information booth is even giving away gift bags to hunters that are able to take a picture of a captured Pokémon at the DMZ with North Korea in the background. Many locals do not understand the workings of the game, but that has not stopped them from taking full advantage of the economics surrounding an influx of potential consumers.

Technically, North Korea falls outside of the restricted Pokémon Go areas, so it would be available to play in North Korea, according to The Wall Street Journal. But players would still need a device capable of running the game and Internet access, which is unlikely.

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