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    A woman using a mobile phone walks past a shop selling Pokemon goods in Tokyo, Japan July 20, 2016.

    Pokémon No-Go: China Bans Augmented Reality Games For Security Reasons

    © REUTERS / Toru Hanai
    Asia & Pacific
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    China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) has refused to license the popular mobile game Pokémon Go and other augmented reality games as “no proper evaluation of security risks” for them has been carried out.

    According to the regulator, potential risks include "threat to geographical information security and the threat to transport and the personal safety of consumers." Also, the game uses the Google Maps service which is blocked in China alongside other Google products. 

    In Pokémon Go, players must walk around real-life neighborhoods to hunt and capture virtual cartoon characters on their smartphone screens.

    The security concerns of Chinese officials actually have some basis in reality. Pokémon Go has caused a number of lethal road accidents in Japan and has been abused by criminals in the United States, where attackers have used game to draw players into deserted places and rob them. Also, according to American media, people in search of pokémon have wandered into private property boundaries, where the owners can legally shoot them dead without warning, according to US legislature. 

    Just a day before the Chinese regulator announced its final decision on augmented reality games, the head of Pokémon Go San Francisco-based developer Niantic, Ted Hanke, announced that that either China or India is likely to be the next major global launch on Pokémon GO's roadmap. However, he noted that equally bureaucratic India was more likely to become the next market.

    Computer games market analysts say that the regulator’s decision is unlikely to affect Chinese-made augmented reality such as City Elves GO.

    Just like any other internet product, China prefers to keep foreign companies out and develop its own version of popular programs and applications. These measures are aimed at supporting not only national security, but also the country's IT industry.

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    computer games, IT, safety, internet, security, Pokemon Go, China
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