Economy, Sci & Tech

Pokemon Go in Iran: Hit and Miss

Pokemon Go in Iran: Hit and MissPokemon Go in Iran: Hit and Miss

Following reports from around the world of Pokemon Go causing mayhem in several countries for its appeal, Financial Tribune researched if local smartphone users had any luck with installing and running the widely popular game.

There have been several reports this week that Pokemon Go is working in Iran and several more that say it isn’t.

Luckily, there is a huge smartphone community in Iran, which looks to be part of the latest global online trends.

The game, which uses Google Maps information to overlay 1990s Pokemon characters on iOS and Android smartphones, has had an overwhelmingly positive reception internationally, and has jolted many people into action for playing the game.

Though it is not officially released in Iran, reports show people have been playing the app either with or without the help of Virtual Private Network since the game’s introduction.

There is a small but growing community of players of the game and even a forum for their questions on Reddit, an online chat board.

One user says in frustration: “I’m in Iran right now and I can’t get past the login screen. [It] keeps saying the servers are busy. Anybody else experiencing this? Those of you who have been playing it in Iran: Are you using VPN or not?”

A tourist going around the country said that he is playing the game;  

“Ha ha! No, I’m here on vacation as a tourist; I’ve gone to Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran, Damavand and Yazd so far; Shiraz was the best by far.

I got heatstroke at Takht-e Jamshid (Perspolis) so I opened up “pogo” (Pokemon Go) while I was resting and took a few (Pokemon) games.”

A player of the game at the Financial Tribune has reported mixed success after loading it on his iPhone 6, because the game goes on and off.

He added that with a VPN, it can be played in some form.

Another user on the Twitter noted in Persian that he was happy that he could access the game in Karaj, as it gives him an excuse for getting outside–not recommended due to the current heat.

It seems that Tehran also has “Pokemon Stops”, where you collect balls.

Mohammad Mehdi Behfar Raad, an Iranian game developer, analyzed the game’s appeal and said it might not have broad appeal in Iran for a number of reasons, including the nation’s unfamiliarity with the Pokemon series that has been around since 1995.

The main point about Pokemon is the story and the best usage of the story’s features in the game’s augmented reality structure.

On the other hand, the conversion of the story into a new entertaining technology is what attracts players.

People are looking for new experiences and when this comes together with a reputable company like Nintendo, it turns into an event.

The game may not have the same speed in connecting with Iranian players, Mehr News Agency reported.

Hassan Karimi Ghodoosi, director of the National Foundation of Computer Games, said he has been in talks with the developer of the game.

He noted that the status of the game will depend on the developers’ cooperation with Iranian authorities.

The US company, Niantic, is not officially permitted to sell the game to Iranian users due to controls in that country on trading with Iran.

It clarified the situation in a statement released on July 16 on the group’s Facebook page: “Pokemon GO is available to play in all countries, except China (People’s Republic of China, Mainland China), Korea (Republic of Korea, South Korea), Taiwan (Republic of China, Taiwan), Cuba, Iran, Myanmar and Sudan.”