(Reuters) - Pokemon GO, which marries a classic 20-year-old franchise with augmented reality, has swept Russia even before the official launch of the game in the country.
Hundreds of game fans can be seen in Moscow’s central parks and squares chasing Pokemons.
Using mobile devices, players search for virtual Pokemon characters that appear to pop up in office spaces, restaurants, museums among other places in the real world.
Players score points in various ways, including capturing the Pokemon characters with a flick of a finger on their phone screen.
“I have been playing for about 10 days. I have been waiting for this game to be released for a long time as I used to like to watch Pokemon before going to school or kindergarten, when I was a baby. Besides the game is very interesting as it exploits augmented reality within the gaming process. I don’t even know how to describe it properly. Either way, the game is entertaining. It also makes you go out for a walk,” game fan Yura said.
The Pokemon GO official website states that the game will launch in Russia “soon”. This didn’t stop fans from downloading it to their smartphones and tablets to join the global craze.
“This (game) makes me feel nostalgic. It’s the game of my childhood. It’s cool catching Pokemons. It makes me leave my place and not spend days playing video games as I usually do but rather move around the city. Or even if not move then sit but at least outside, in parks,” Pokemon GO player Maria said.
“I’ve just learnt about the new game. My friend and I came here to play the game because there are a lot of people playing it here already. There are a lot of spots here where you can get different bonuses or attract new types of Pokemons in the game,” another game fan Pavel said.
Pokemon GO has been an unexpected success from Spain to Australia, doubling the value of Nintendo Co Ltd since the game’s launch in the United States earlier this month.
The game is on its way to becoming the first mobile game to break the $4 billion-per-year barrier, beating Candy Crush Saga, according to Macquarie Research.