Developer of Nintendo's Pokemon GO aiming for rollout to 200 markets soon
By Makiko Yamazaki
TOKYO (Reuters) - The head of the developer behind Nintendo Co Ltd's (7974.T: Quote) Pokemon GO said he wanted to launch the smash-hit mobile game in roughly 200 countries and regions "relatively soon" and was working on bolstering server capacity to enable the wider rollout.
The game, which marries a classic 20-year old franchise with augmented reality, has taken the world by storm despite having been launched in only five countries - the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Germany.
"Why limit it?" John Hanke, chief executive of Niantic, which developed Pokemon GO jointly with Nintendo affiliate Pokemon Company, said in an interview with Reuters on Friday.
He declined to go into a detailed timeframe for further rollouts but noted that the company's first location-based augmented reality game Ingress had taken a month or two to reach that number of markets.
His comments helped Nintendo shares on Friday surge another 10 percent, setting a record in daily trading volume for an individual stock on the Tokyo bourse. The shares have climbed 86 percent in just over a week, adding $17 billion in market value.
He confirmed that the game would soon be coming to Japan and that he expects "ultimately to launch" the game in South Korea, where Google's mapping functions are restricted due to security issues with North Korea.
Hanke said Niantic, which was spun off from Google last year, is working on the mapping issue. "There are solutions to that," he said.
South Korea is the world's fourth-biggest gaming market after China, the United States and Japan, according to Amsterdam-based research firm Newzoo. Continued...