As Pokémon Go is set to be released in China, there are still questions about how the world-popular game will be played in the relatively closed off nation. As some of you might know, China does not allow the use of Google in its country, which is a problem for Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go. In fact, in order to adhere to Chinese law, Niantic had to partner with a domestic company in order to be allowed to introduce the game in the country. Now, it is struggling to figure out how it is supposed to run it’s geocentric mobile game without access to Google’s GPS platform, Google Maps.
Reports That Google Re-Launched Maps In China
Earlier this week, there were reports that Google was making changes and re-launching Google Maps in China. Japan company Nikkei reported earlier that Google had set up a China-specific version of Google Maps for the first time in eight years, as well as creating the first mobile-friendly version for Chinese users. Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, shut down that notion almost immediately, claiming that there has been no plan to re-launch a new version of Maps in China.
Available For Desktop, Not Mobile
Google spokesperson Taj Meadows told Reuters that no changes were made, and that Maps has been accessible via desktop in China for years but has no mobile presence inside the country. It’s not surprising that Google is not cooperating with China or planning on revisiting its GPS functionality within the country, considering its primary search function and popular video platform YouTube had been blocked and outlawed for years. The question is, will it ever change? Can a company like Niantic and a game like Pokémon Go be enough to convince Chinese lawmakers to ease up on its prohibitions regarding Google?