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Weeks after its U.S. launch, Pokémon Go is yet to officially arrive in Asia to the frustration of millions of Pokémon fans. However, players from some parts of the continent have reportedly been playing the game as early as last week.
Photos of players from Ulleungdo, South Korea playing the game were posted on the online magazine INVEN, according to Rocketnews 24. People in Inje County and Gangwon Province in South Korea were also said to be playing Pokémon GO.
Lee DooHee, a popular Korean hacker, was quoted as saying, “[T]here are several people playing Pokémon GO near the Sokcho gymnasium (South Korea),” and “they have actually caught around 20 Pokémon”.
In China, players go to great lengths just to be able to download the game. To access Pokémon Go, iPhone users reportedly change the region settings on their phones, while android users use third party sites to download a hacked APK file.
Since the maps are still restricted, some use hacked versions of the game that lets users fake their locations. One popular version uses San Francisco locations where Chinese gamers explore a map populated by U.S. landmarks.
Players in Liaoning and Xinjiang, however have reported success in playing the game without using location hacks:
“It’s so exciting encountering a new monster I haven’t seen before,” Guo Fanjun, a Liaoning player told Sixthtone. “I’ll get nervous that they’ll run away or that I’ll run out of Poke balls.”
He said that he was able to locate and catch Pokemon in parks, shopping malls, and school campuses.
Han Yiyi, a player from Xinjiang said most of her catches were found in her house and in parks.
Yahoo! News reported that the game has been playable for people in areas above the 38th parallel north line, which runs through China, South Korea, and central Japan.
In Indonesia, Pokémon fans are luckier as the game has reportedly been working since it first went live, reported CNET. For some reason, game’s servers in the country have been turned on and Indonesians have been catching virtual monsters way ahead than all of their Asian neighbors.
Buhori Dermawan from Jakarta said that he has even reached level 17 with a collection of 75 Pokémon in his Pokédex after two weeks of playing.
“I can go out to find Pokemon, it’s healthy and fun, and I can upgrade the Pokemon and battle for gyms,” Dermawan told CNET.
In Japan, the birthplace of Pikachu, the game is reportedly scheduled to officially be downloadable by Wednesday, according to Techcrunch. This will be the first official launch of Pokémon Go in Asia despite earlier reports that the country was scheduled to receive the game by the end of July.
Niantic CEO John Hanke told Forbes that the delay was because the companies behind the app want to ensure that its servers are ready to withstand the demand that the Japan launch is sure to generate.
The rest of Asia may have to wait a few more days after the Japan release after Hanke claimed Pokémon Go will launch in around 200 countries “relatively soon” as developers are preparing for the worldwide release.