China May Not Allow Pokémon Go to Land on Its Soil Due to Security Concern

13 Jan

With global fever for Pokémon Go, launched last year, having begun to subside, Chinese people are still waiting for the chance to play the game, which appears to be increasingly unlikely to happen, at least in the near future, due to Chinese government’s security concern.

China Game Industry Working Committee pointed out recently that the Chinese regulator has stopped reviewing application for the introduction of the game into the country, due to “uncertain risk factors.”

In a statement, the committee acknowledges the innovation of the game, involving the application of AR (augmented reality) and LBS (location based service) technologies, reason for its rapid popularity worldwide in the second half of 2016.

However, the State Administration of Publication, Press, Radio, Film, and Television, said the committee, has instructed that Pokémon Go and other similar games involve some potential risks, even threatening national security and people’s life and properties. Citing foreign cases, the administration believes the game will entail greater social risks, including safety of geographic information and society and transportation, as well as consumers’ personal safety. As a result, the administration is still conducting, along with other related units, safety evaluation for the game and will not allow Pokémon Go and other similar games to enter China before the completion of the evaluation. It also asks Chinese firms to be cautious in developing similar games.

However, some people suspect that security concern is just an excuse in blocking the entry of the game into China, pointing to the regulator’s hands-off stance towards the spread of “shanzhai” (knockoff) versions of Pokémon Go in the nation. Some Taiwanese netizens say that the ban may be desirable, as Chinese people may risk their lives trying to catch those little monsters in a smoggy environment.