Pokémon Go is not out in China. But that isn’t stopping fans from trying to play the game and developers from, well, yeah.
For those with Apple IDs linked to China’s App Store, Quartz reports that people can buy Apple IDs that are registered in countries where the game is out. Though, even if you are able to download the game, Niantic has apparently blocked the GPS for most of China. The result are maps that utterly barren of Pocket Monsters. (Sixth Tone, however, reports that in some parts of China players have successfully been using VPN software and a decrypted version of the game to play.)
It’s also possible to use hacked versions to fake one’s location, Quartz adds (see above). That enables gamers to fill up Chinese streets with, for example, San Francisco landmarks and catch Pokémon. But, who knows what kind of malware those hacks contain. What’s more, Niantic says that players who use mods or fake their locations could have their accounts terminated.
As Tech in Asia and Quartz point out, there’s already what seems to be a clone called City Elves Go. Searching “Pokémon Go” on China’s App Store reportedly brings it up as the first search result. This is perhaps why the game has shot to top of the Chinese App Store charts.
The game claims it’s location based and, as you can see in this screenshot, Pokémon do show up in your real world location. (Note: Quartz’s writer is based in Hong Kong and not mainland China but has an account tied to China’s App Store.)
However, the game doesn’t use augmented reality, which is much of Pokémon Go’s appeal. Players apparently do have to go to the real world locations to catch the monsters, which is cool.
The China-based studio behind the app told Quartz that it didn’t “consider any factors from Pokémon Go” while developing the game, but did add that the title’s character designer is a Pokémon fan.
Aren’t we all?
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