Pokemon Go maker Niantic has announced plans to launch its monster-catching game in China. The firm told reporters that, it would bring the augmented reality game to China after striking a partnership deal with a local company NetEase.
Chinese regulations covering online content demand that foreign firms find a partner to launch digital ventures in the country. Niantic gave no specific date for when Pokemon Go would be turned on in China, reports BBC.
John Hanke, chief executive of the US firm, told the FT that it “absolutely” intended to take its games to China – the worlds largest mobile market.
The 2016 launch of Pokemon Go and its massive popularity had left the company cash-rich, he said, and in a good position to expand. Also, he added, a recent funding round had raised $200m (£148m) from investors that would also fuel expansion.
The Pokemon game involves players using their smartphones to find and catch the game’s titular monsters in the real world. They then use the captive creatures to battle other players. Augmented reality (AR) technology inserts the monsters when people view the world through their phone’s camera.
Player numbers had dwindled sharply since Pokemon’s launch, said Mr. Hanke, but there was a “solid” core of players who had stuck with the game.
A woman plays the augmented reality mobile game “Pokemon Go” by Nintendo at a branch of Sberbank in central Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia
The technical and policy expertise Niantic had amassed while launching Pokemon Go would serve it well as it developed more games, he said.
The next big game it plans to launch will be based on the hugely popular Harry Potter series of stories. That game had the potential to appeal to a very wide range of people, he said. The game is due to be released in the second half of 2018.
Niantic could face increased competition in 2018 from Google, Apple, Facebook, and Snap all of whom have released AR toolkits for developers. Additionally, in China online retail giant Alibaba has announced plans to use AR to help commercial partners.