Home at last!: Pokemon Go finally launches in country where it all began

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.

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