Image: Jul 31, 2016; White Plains, NY, USA; A vendor displays signs for a Pokemon Go Tournament during Day 3 of Defend the North at Crowne Plaza Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Creators of Pokemon Go said on Wednesday they were doing everything possible to release the blockbuster mobile game in Brazil in time for the Rio Olympics which start on Friday.
The official Twitter account for Pokemon Go tweeted that it was working hard to roll out the game in South America’s largest nation and told fans to “stay tuned.”
A representative for Niantic Inc, which developed Pokemon Go for mobile devices, declined to comment on the exact timing of the game’s release in Brazil. Japan’s Nintendo Co Ltd owns 32 percent of the Pokemon Company, which owns Pokemon’s intellectual property.
Some in Brazil have questioned how Pokemon Go players will stay safe. Robbers in other countries have targeted distracted mobile phone players, and Brazil’s steepest economic recession since the 1930s has been stoking crime and straining public finances. There have been threats of police strikes on the eve of the games.
In the United States, some players have been drawn down dark alleys and into dangerous neighborhoods in search of the imaginary creatures, only to be targeted by criminals. Players have also been involved in car accidents.
The game can work anywhere in the world using GPS but it is not officially available for download by local users in Brazil.
Athletes who have arrived at the Olympic village have expressed disappointment about the game not being widely available.
U.S. diver Abby Johnston tweeted July 26 that the worst thing about the Olympic village was she could not play the game.
Pokemon Go is available in 35 countries. Players use their mobile devices to search various real-life locations in hopes of finding and capturing virtual Pokemon characters such as cuddly yellow Pikachu.
The game marries a classic 20-year-old Nintendo franchise with augmented reality and has surged on Apple Inc’s app charts since its release last month. It is on its way to becoming the first mobile game to break the $4 billion-per-year (£3 billion-per-year) barrier, beating Candy Crush Saga.
Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura landed a nearly $5,000 phone bill in Rio this week, after he was persuaded by his teammates to download the game shortly after touching down in Brazil for a pre-Games training camp last week.
There will be around 10,500 athletes competing in the Olympics from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21 in Rio, plus 5,000 coaches and team officials.
(Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Pedro Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro)
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