August 9, 2017 / 2:37 PM / in 4 months

Pokemon Go fans join giant Pikachus at Yokohama festival

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) - Thousands of Pokemon Go players gathered in the Japanese port city of Yokohama to try their hand at catching rare virtual creatures while watching dance shows featuring people dressed as giant Pikachus.

Women take a selfie in front of a large Pikachu figure at a Pokemon Go Park event in Yokohama, Japan August 9, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Pokemon Go is a smartphone-based game, which requires players to ‘catch’ virtual creatures, one of the best-known of which is the mouse-like Pikachu, by going to real-world locations where the game places them.

The festival, which is jointly organized by Yokohama city and The Pokemon Company, features a total of 15,000 Pikachus and will end on Aug. 15, the event organizers said.

More such events will be held in Japan in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, they added.

At the Pokemon Go Park, the festival’s main venue, visitors on Wednesday stopped by hoping to defeat players of the augmented reality game from Japan and beyond.

One player, 15-year-old Geoffery Morris, said the area was so busy the servers were often down.

Last month, nearly 20,000 people gathered at the first-ever Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago, causing the servers to crash due to congestion. The game’s developer Niantic later postponed a number of events in Europe.

The game became a global sensation upon its release in 2016, breaking records for mobile app downloads and revenue. The game’s developers say that it has been downloaded 650 million times world wide since its release.

Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; Editing by Ken Ferris

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