The world’s latest favourite smartphone game Pokémon GO might never release in China owing to strict censorship and other technical problems but a clone called City Spirit Go, is now topping charts in the country.
The Chinese copy, locally developed by Shenzhen Tanyu, is the most downloaded app in the Apple iOS store and is also popular on the Android platform although it is not yet known whether it is topping the charts there as Google Play is blocked in the country.
Created by programmer Sun Xiaoyu, City Spirit Go also challenges users to seek and catch the fantastical creatures and fight them, although instead of using a mobile phone camera to integrate the videogame in images taken from reality, as in Pokémon GO, it uses a virtual map, EFE news reported.
According to reports, the success of the copy and a strong demand from users forced local gaming sites to multiply the capacity of their servers by 10 times.
City Spirit Go was launched four months ago, few weeks after Japanese video game company Nintendo released a provisional version of Pokémon GO only in Japan, which was later launched officially on Wednesday with limited availability in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Germany.
Nintendo, whose stocks have climbed more than 80 per cent since the launch of the game, said Pokémon GO will reach other markets, without specifying whether China will be one of them.
The recent ban on the use of English language in video games released in China, coupled with the fact that to play Pokémon GO it is necessary to have a Google account (blocked in the country) the game’s arrival in the Chinese video game market, the largest in the world with $7 billion in revenue last year, is unlikely.
Meanwhile, several Chinese e-commerce websites like Taobao (similar to eBay) are selling user codes and passwords for the Australian Apple store, so Pokémon fans in China can install the game on their smartphones.
However, for the game to work users will also need to install a virtual private network on their phones to bypass censorship and have a Google account, as well as a GPS simulator, as the global positioning system has strong restrictions in China.