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China blocks Pokemon Go and others to protect 'information security'

China's state censor isn't in any hurry to let augmented reality titles, including Niantic's hit smartphone app Pokemon Go, into the country.

Chris Kerr

January 10, 2017

1 Min Read

China's state censor isn't in any hurry to let augmented reality titles, including Niantic's hit smartphone app Pokemon Go, into the country. 

According to a report from Reuters, Chinese officials are worried about the security risks and logistical problems posed by titles that ask players to explore the real world in search of digital rewards.

As such, they won't sanction the launch of any AR games or apps until those threats have been carefully evaluated. 

In particular, censors are uneasy about some games' reliance on the sending and receiving of geographical data -- games like Pokemon Go, which courted controversy last year after it pulled players onto private property

"[We have] a high level of responsibility to national security and the safety of people's lives and property," said a Chinese industry body. 

The censor will now work with other government departments to evaluate the risks posed by AR titles, which reportedly include the "threat to geographical information security and the threat to transport and the personal safety of consumers."

Even if Pokemon Go was given the go-ahead, any launch would be hindered by the fact that the game relies on Google services (such as Maps) that are currently blocked in the region.

It's just another problem devs will have to work around if they want to gain access to one of the mobile industry's largest markets.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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