BANGKOK – Nintendo Co Ltd’s smash-hit augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go has been launched in Thailand, along with 14 other countries in Asia-Pacific.
“Trainers in 15 new countries and regions across Asia and Oceania can now officially download Pokemon GO from the Play Store or App Store,” Niantic, the game’s developer, announced on the website on Saturday.
Apart from Thailand, the countries and regions included in Saturday’s launch are: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau.
True said on Saturday its True Move mobile phone customers would get the Pokedex handbook listing available monsters at True shops.
It also held a seven-day event “Gotta catch ’em all” at True shops starting 6pm on Saturday.
The launch was sooner than previously expected. True CEO Suphachai Chearavanont said on July 21 the game would be launched in September.
The game uses GPS to track a player’s location and overlays “Characters” that can be hunted in that location on his mobile screen. The caught monsters can then be trained for battles.
The Information and Communication Technology Ministry (ICT) earlier said it was considering regulating gameplaying.
The Tourism Ministry, on the other hand, wants to promote some sites by submitting them to the game’s developers so players come to them.
Now that the game has come live, the Culture Ministry was quick to express concern about the game on Saturday afternoon, according to Daily News Online.
Its officials said players might be so absorbed in the game that they act inappropriately or inadvertently damage ancient places such as temples in their wake.
The ministry will next week send a letter to the ICT Ministry expressing its concern.
Meanwhile, Pokemon is a no go for Malaysian Muslims, Pokemon Go officially landed in Malaysia on Saturday a day after the local Islamic authority warned Muslims against playing the smartphone-based augmented reality game over fears it could lead to a craving for power among a host of evils.
On Aug 1 the Islamic Legal Consultative Committee of the Federal Territory discussed and decided that the games Pokemon Go and Pokemon are not allowed for Muslims,” mufti or religious expert Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri said in a statement posted on the committee’s website on Friday.
Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm since it was released last month in over 30 countries.
Iran banned Pokemon Go just a few days after it was released in early July, citing national security concerns because the game leads users to real-life locations via GPS maps.
But as with many attempts to get around internet curbs in the Islamic republic, enthusiasts are finding ways to get around the ban and play the mobile game.
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