Pikachu was welcomed home by thousands of enthusiastic gamers on Friday as the global phenomenon that is Pokemon Go finally launched in Japan - the country where it all began 20 yers ago. The mythical creature and its pals have found a home in more than 40 countries, including the US and much of Europe, but the land of his creators was kept waiting. The suspense lasted for days, as a date for the Japan rollout kept changing, while Nintendo, the Pokemon Company and the game’s US-based developer Niantic all played hard to pin down. But that ended with Niantic announcing on its blog: “We are truly happy that we have been able to bring this to Japan, where Pokemon was born.”
It was like, ‘Finally! I want to play it immediately’. When we’re playing, we see Pokemon on our friend’s shoulder. So we’re like: 'It’s there, it’s there!’
Student Mamiko Amaha, 16
Since its global launch, Pokemon Go has sparked a worldwide frenzy among users who have taken to the streets with their smartphones. The free app uses satellite locations, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon monsters on real-world settings, challenging players to capture and train the creatures for battles. McDonald’s Japan and Pokemon Company, meanwhile, officially announced a collaboration whereby the fast food chain’s outlets will be key locations – gyms and PokeStops – for Pokemon Go players. And Nintendo stock rose on the Japan launch, surging as much as 6.8% as investors cheered the roll-out although the excitement wore off somewhat later.
Pokemon Go came, I cannot bother with work
One Twitter user challenges Japan’s work-hard culture