While much of the world has been enjoying the phenomenon that is Pokémon Go, Japan — the country that spawned Pikachu and its pocket monster peers — has so far been left out. But, according to TechCrunch, that's about to change, with Pokémon Go reportedly launching in the country tomorrow.
TechCrunch cites sources who say that developer Niantic Labs will make Pokémon Go available for download in Japan on July 20th, two weeks after the alternate reality monster-catching app first launched in Australia and New Zealand. The Japanese launch will also reportedly bring the first sponsored locations to the game — TechCrunch says Niantic Labs has partnered with McDonald's to turn 3,000 restaurants across Japan into gyms for trainers to battle over.
3,000 McDonald's across Japan will reportedly be made into 'Pokémon Go' gyms
Japanese players have been itching for a chance to get out on the streets and catch their own pokémon since the game's beta period ended in the country earlier this year. Niantic Labs' marketing official Kento Suga was the target of angry tweets earlier this month when he told Japanese gamers to wait a little longer for a release date, as Twitter users demanded a release date and lamented their position as the game saw release across North America, Europe, and Oceania.
CEO John Hanke previously pinned the delayed Japanese launch on the game's servers, which he said needed to be stable enough to deal with the country's millions of pokéfans trying to catch 'em all at the same time. "At present, the server capacity in Japan is not powerful enough," he told Forbes earlier this month, stating that his company planned to release the game by the end of July. Players in other countries have had difficulty connecting to the game over the past two weeks, as their local servers collapsed under the weight of millions of users, or were targeted by DDoS attacks orchestrated by hacking groups.