Pokemon Go: Olympic Athletes, Fans Urge Nintendo To Release App In Brazil For Summer Games

The augmented reality game Pokemon Go has been an unprecedented success around the globe. The app is available in 30 countries and territories, but Brazil is not one of them, and many Olympic athletes are urging the developers to bring the game to the country in time for the Summer games, which run August 5-21. British athlete Joe Clarke tweeted a screenshot of his game in Rio, which showed a complete lack of Pokemon.

“I wish I could run around in the [athletes’] village catching Pokemon. I just can’t get it on the phone. It’s fine, but it would have been something fun to do,” New Zealand soccer player Anna Green told the Associated Press.

Canoers Joe Clarke of Britain and Matthieu Peche both posted screenshots from the Pokemon Go apps that showed a complete lack of Pokestops and landmarks.

Niantic Inc., the company responsible for Pokemon Go, has yet to set a release date for Brazil. Right now, the game is available in the United States and Canada, as well as Japan, Australia and most European countries. Earlier this month, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes invited the company to release it in South America, according to the Washington Post.

“There are 23 days until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” Paes wrote on Facebook in Portuguese on July 13. “Everybody’s coming. You should come on down too.”

USA Today notes that one viral video — which has garnered more than 3.5 million views — shows emotional fan Joel Vieira questioning how Brazil can host the Olympics but not have the Pokemon Go app.

“I can’t play! I am not allowed to know how it really feels to see the little animals on my cell phone,” he said on the video. “Because we don’t have it in Brazil, yet. But we are having the Olympics.”

Even if the game was available in the country, considering the security and crime concerns in Rio, venturing out of the Olympic Village to play Pokemon Go might not be the safest idea for visiting athletes who are not familiar with the area.

The Pokémon Go craze has been simply inescapable, and George Takei has added himself to the frenzy. With the help of a Pokemon Go trainer, the Star Trek alum captured on video the moment he took to Central Park to learn how to play the game. Check out the video below.

George thanked the makers of the game with a comment on Facebook. “Thanks Pokémon,” he wrote. “I had much fun taking a Pikachu new game. It was a Goldeen opportunity.”

As Engadget notes, while Nintendo did not have a hand in developing Pokemon Go, the company has published the Pokemon games since 1990s, and it owns a third of The Pokemon Company, the business that markets and licenses the game franchise to outside developers. The Pokemon Company will license fees and compensation for collaborating with developer Niantic on Pokemon Go, and Nintendo has announced that it will receive a very small portion of that revenue.

Meanwhile, Nintendo will produce and distribute the $35 Pokemon Go Plus plastic accessory, which connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and lights up and vibrates when players encounter PokeStops or Pokemon in the wild.

Pokemon Go players with the app already downloaded will only see a digital map of their surroundings when they visit Rio. The game isn’t much fun without Pokestops or Pokemon. In the U.S., Pokestops are being used to attract customers to bars, restaurants and coffee shops. This is presumably one reason why Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes wants Niantic to release the game in Brazil — to attract new consumers.

[Photo via Shutterstock]