Pokemon Go has finally been confirmed to launch in China. John Hanke, the CEO of developer Niantic, told Financial Times that the game is coming to the gamer-rich country, though he did not give any indication as to when it would be released. Niantic is working with NetEase to launch Pokemon Go in China. NetEase is a Chinese games company that has also worked with Activision Blizzard to bring World of Warcraft and Overwatch to China.
"We absolutely intend to bring our existing games into China," Hanke said. "Beyond that, there are opportunities to build games in China, both for China and for the world."
In addition to Pokemon Go, Niantic continues to operate and support its AR game Ingress. One of its biggest upcoming titles is Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which is also an AR title.
A year ago this month, Reuters reported that Pokemon Go, and other unspecified augmented reality games, are "unlikely to be rolled out in China anytime soon," due in part to concerns about information security and safety. China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television has decided to work with other branches of the country's government to "evaluate the game's risks," the report said. This decision was motivated by a "high level of responsibility to national security and the safety of people's lives and property," the group said.
Specifically, China's Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association said Pokemon Go's risks include a "threat to geographical information security and the threat to transport and the personal safety of consumers."
It appears whatever issues China had with Pokemon Go have been addressed or resolved. It remains to be seen how the Chinese version of Pokemon Go may differ from the western edition; we'll report back with more information as it's made available.
Pokemon Go has been linked to car crashes around the world, some of them fatal. The game leverages Google Maps to track your location, which makes some people--and governments apparently--uneasy.