Pokémon Go will be available in nearly 200 countries and regions “relatively soon, according to John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic Labs, the developer of the popular augmented-reality mobile game, along with The Pokémon Company.
In an interview with Reuters on Friday, Mr. Hanke said, “Why limit it?” He also confirmed that the mobile games will be available soon in Japan and South Korea, where there is a restriction on Google’s mapping functions due to the securities problems with North Korea.
He said they are working on the mapping issue and expressed confidence that “there are solutions to that.” South Korea is the fourth-largest gaming market worldwide after, China, the United States, and Japan, according to Newzoo, a research firm based in Amsterdam.
Pokémon Go is currently available in five countries including Australia, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The developers of the mobile game did not anticipate the massive influx of players, which caused its server to crash. It is now the biggest mobile game in the history of the United States.
According to Mr. Hanke, they are working on boosting the capacity of the server to enable them to roll out the mobile game on a wider scale. He did not provide details regarding the schedule for further release. He noted that it took a month or two before Niantic rolled out Ingress, the first augmented-reality mobile game, in a number of markets.
Mr. Hanke also expressed reservation regarding the prospects for the launching of Pokémon Go in China. According to him, they are considering the regulations in the country.
Sponsorship strategies for Pokémon Go
Furthermore, Mr. Hanke said they are considering the possibility of introducing sponsorship strategies for Pokémon Go. The sponsorship will likely be similar to Ingress, which designates sponsors’ stores and vending machines as spots in the game.
Sponsors will pay for customer visit, which provides additional revenue stream aside from in-app purchases. Currently, Niantic has eight corporate sponsors for Ingress including SoftBank Group (TYO:9984). Mr. Hanke said Pokémon Go will probably have the same number of sponsors.
Nintendo shares soar again
The stock price of Nintendo, which owns one-third of The Pokémon Company, surged nearly 8% to ¥27,780 in Tokyo on Friday. The company gained more than 86% in stock value in just over a week.
Nintendo’s market value increased from ¥2.30 trillion on July to ¥3.9 trillion on July 15.