Pokemon Go provokes widespread curiosity in South Korea

By Park Sae-jin Posted : July 14, 2016, 15:47 Updated : July 14, 2016, 15:47

[Yonhap News Photo]

Pokemon Go is not available in South Korea, but it has provoked widespread curiosity with more than 400,000 people downloading the new smartphone hit through foreign accounts for a week, a survey showed Thursday.

Mobile market watcher Wiseapp said in a survey of South Koran Android mobile phone users that an estimated 410,000 were believed to have downloaded the Pokemon Go app since its release on July 7.

Some 79 percent of those surveyed were men. IPhone users have been left out, Wiseapp said, adding the actual number of gamers who have downloaded would be bigger.

After logging on, gamers can only see a message reading a GPS signal cannot be found because game developers used Google's mapping service which is not available in South Korea.

Google provides almost unrestricted map services worldwide, covering sensitive features even in North Korea. But it cannot do so in South Korea because of its security law which bans unauthorized exports of map data and requires Google to have sensitive items blurred.

The Augmented Reality (AR) video game recreates Pokemon's underlying story of players scouring the world in search of "pocket monsters" to train and battle with each other. App users are encouraged to wander their own surroundings and unlock new Pokemon characters using location tracking on their smartphones.

Aju News Lim Chang-won = cwlim34@ajunews.com
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