MANILA, Phillippines – It was going to be a day to remember.
Armed with their smartphones, ‘trainers’ from all over the country rolled up their sleeves and set out on an adventure to look for their ultimate, albeit virtual, companion.
Players could choose to swipe a pokeball towards an augmented reality Pokemon in an attempt to catch it, or use their existing Pokemon to battle new ones in the wild – that is, outside the comforts of their home.
Their much-awaited journey into becoming a real Pokemon Master finally began. Their battlecry: Gotta catch ‘em all!
Sadly, that only lasted for about half a day.
Pokemon Go, an augmented reality mobile game under the Pokemon franchise, finally launched on Wednesday, July 6, by Nintendo and developer Niantic Labs for both IOS and Android.
It was only made available for select regions, with reports stating that New Zealand, Australia, and more recently, the United States are the current beneficiaries of Pokemon Go’s graces. The release appears to be a soft launch of the title, with a slow and steady rollout to iron out any issues.
Regional restrictions were not about to deter Pokemon-hungry fans, however. As soon as the game was launched, different means to bypass the region locks were passed around. The most popular method was by downloading an APK code available online.
Pretty soon, social media was filled with posts from Filipino trainers, flaunting their newly caught Pokemon.
There were Pokemon everywhere – home, malls and even markets, and trainers didn’t fail to document them. Memes and anime references filled Facebook, it felt as if the Philippines have been given access all along.
Fans’ daydreaming streaks were seemingly cut short when, at the stroke of midnight, access to the game appeared to have been ‘blocked.’
Excitement becomes disappointment
Filipino users report only being able to run the app, but not seeing Pokemon to catch, and well as not being able to access the shop.
The Pokemon Go hype on the first day turned to a flood of disappointment as players who got a taste of it is back on the waiting game.
Those who haven’t tried it, meanwhile…
In other countries…
Elsewhere, eager Pokemon trainers were being reminded to watch their surroundings and to not go out late at night just to hunt for rare Pokemon.
Much like Niantic’s previous augmented reality outing, Ingress, the excitement of playing the game may be providing headaches for anxious parents and police officers.
At the same time, the game itself is still being worked on, as optimizations are likely in the works to lessen the battery drain on devices.
Never seen a game drain battery like Pokemon Go. Even my 6s loses 10% in 20 minutes – WITH the charger connected!— ℃améron Davis (@Gazunta) July 6, 2016
Speculation arose that unathorized access of the game may have been causing trouble due to the high traffic. As of July 7, however, no official statement has been released by Niantic Labs and the Pokemon Company.
As of 4:00 pm of Thursday afternoon, however, the shop appeared to be accessible again, with the currency localized in Philippine pesos.
In other words, while those breaking the street date through a file download or a region bypass couldn’t play, they could at least see what they would be dealing with in terms of microtransactions.
Will Filipino fans finally be able to play the game again soon? We don’t know. In the mean time, check out this meme that sums up our feelings right now.