Pokémon Go not licensed in China due to potential security risks

Technology - Himanshu Gill - Jan 10,2017

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pokemon go not licensed in china due to potential security risks

Nintendo’s super hit smartphone app, Pokémon Go, is unlikely to be rolled out in China as the state sensor board has refused to license them under potential security threats.

Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality game that comes as a smartphone app. Players have to walk in real life surroundings to catch virtual cartoon characters, called Pokémon, using their smartphone screens.
The game was developed by U.S-based Nintendo and it took the world by storm when it was released last year. It was recently licensed in India but is unlikely to get through in the world’s leading smartphone and online gaming market.

The Chinese censor board —the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said that it has cited possible reasons for not licensing the game. It said the game poses a high level of responsibility to national security and safety of lives and property, adding that it is a threat to geographical information security and a danger to transport as well as the personal safety of consumers.

It further stated that it is working with some other government departments to evaluate the game’s risks.

Recently, Pokémon Go has been blamed for road accidents, some of them fatal, due to distracted players, while data privacy concerns over the game’s geolocation feature have also fueled controversy. However, Nintendo hasn’t yet disclosed what it does with the user data.

Another potential reason that could have resulted in this ban is that the game relies on Google services such as Google Maps, which are permanently blocked in China.

Some Chinese companies are also working on similar games based on augmented reality and location-based services that have prompted the panel to seek advice from the top licensing body. Nintendo is yet to give any response on the Chinese ruling.