I was on my way out the door when my friend stopped me with the words: "Pokémon Go is out!" We immediately went back in and started downloading it, excited to spend the day hunting Pokémon in Japan. Alas, that first day turned out to be a bust.
While Americans were able to download Pokémon Go along with everyone else, the game was basically useless in Japan. Walking through Akihabara, I paitiently waited for a Pokemon to appear, but to no avail. Tokyo was completely barren.
As it turned out, I wasn't alone.
Has anyone currently in Japan been able to get Pokemon Go to work? (You can see pokemon on the map?)— Justin Epperson (@sprsk) July 7, 2016
Nightfall, and still, the Pokemons sleep... pic.twitter.com/qZBsHooSIP— John Ricciardi (@johntv) July 7, 2016
Speculation quickly followed on what the heck was going on. Was it because Pokémon Go wasn't out in Japan yet? Was it because Nintendo hadn't turned on the servers? Was it because there was something we weren't doing right? Regardless, there were a lot of confused foreigners in Japan on Thursday.
At least some of our confusion stemmed from the promise that Pokémon Go would work anywhere we went. Indeed, Pokémon Go's appeal hinges on being able to find new and interesting Pokémon when we go abroad, or even to a new city. With that, our first thought was, "We must be missing something." But it seems like the only thing we're missing is being part of Pokemon Go's overall rollout.
In hindsight, I suppose I'm not surprised. After all, I'm playing the American version of a game in a different region. True, that game is supposed to work wherever I go, but it's rare to see a game work perfectly at launch. Actually, I might have been more surprised if Pokemon Go had worked right out of the gate.
Regardless, I'm sorry to say that I won't be able to share my full thoughts on Pokémon Go just yet. I was looking forward to wandering Tokyo catching Pokemon, but that will have to wait for a little bit longer. I hope you understand.
In the meantime, I'm curious to hear how your own Pokémon hunts are going. Has it been working as well as you hoped? Or have you had problems even signing in? Please share your thoughts in the comments. Hopefully I'll have more detailed thoughts on Pokémon Go for you soon.