#Asia Better late than never: Pokémon Go just launched in South Asia


While Niantic will enjoy an enthusiasm boost, entering the region at this point leaves a feeling of what-could-have-been


Over five months after its July 6 launch created the largest global fad in recent memory, Pokémon Go officially launched across South Asia today — including the region’s largest country, India.

Trainers in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka can also now start catching Pokémon.

Niantic apologised for fans in the region, blaming the delay on “a few administrative challenges” that the company said would create a poor user experience.

These administrative challenges seem to have been solved by a partnership with the local infocomm network Reliance Jio. This allowed Niantic to build Pokéstops at 3,000 Reliance Digital stores and partner locations.

During a “Happy New Year” promotion, Jio customers will be able to play the game without eating up their data. Non-Jio customers will still be able to enjoy catching Pokémon, but will use their data.

What could have been

While Niantic will surely see an uptick in user numbers, the fad has largely passed.

In the US, according to Recode, only 4 per cent of the peak daily active users still play the game daily. However, those stats are starting from an absurdly high base of 10 million people — so it is still 400,000 daily active users in the US.

Also Read: Niantic to make it easier for trainers to catch rare Pokémon … sort of

Now, we are left with a feeling of what-could-have-been as the development company missed out on the world’s two largest markets during peak Pokémon craze.

To be fair, because of Niantic’s decision to integrate Google services into Pokémon Go, it would have been naive to have expected a launch in China.

But, it is a bummer a country the size of India was not able to launch the game when it was truly popular.

Also Read: Is this the beginning of the end for Pokémon Go?

In other Pokémon related rumors, murmurs are spreading that December could be the month Niantic introduces generation 2 Pokémon (it already introduced Togepi and Pichu — they have to be hatched from eggs). The company may also introduce trading which would make for some fun interactions (Anyone want to trade their Machamp for my Snorlax straight up?).

Copyright: delcreations / 123RF Stock Photo

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