If you’re living in China and are anxious to get in on the whole Pokemon GO (Free) phenomenon (well, what’s left of it anyway) then I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. According to a report in Reuters, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) will not license Pokemon GO or similar games for release in China until they’ve had adequate time to evaluate the risks involved with doing so. What sort of risks? According to the games panel of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association, which is governed by the SAPPRFT, those risks include “threat to geographical information security and the threat to transport and the personal safety of consumers." Seeing as how playing Pokemon GO has been linked to accidents and even deaths due to distracted driving and walking practices, I’d say they actually have a pretty good point!
What’s strange about this story is that shortly after Pokemon GO released last summer and quickly became a (mostly) worldwide sensation, a clone that mimicked the same type of functionality as Pokemon GO called City Spirits Go ($0.99) WAS released in China and quickly rose up the charts similar to its officially-licensed counterpart. So how come the knockoff version gets a pass and the official version doesn’t? Who knows! While I think it’s nice that the government is trying to assess the situation surrounding augmented reality games before allowing them whole hog, I do hope that this eventually results in the games getting approved and released as I’m positive Pokemon GO won’t be the last mega-successful augmented reality game we’ll be seeing.