Nintendo’s market value doubled Tuesday as its shares rose by another 14 percent, closing at $42.5 billion, a day before "Pokémon Go" is expected to launch in the country of its origin — Japan.
"Pokémon Go" is currently available in over 30 countries, including the U.S., Canada and much of Europe. Japan, however, has been left off the list till now because of infrastructural difficulties as the game’s developers are not confident about Japanese servers.
Niantic CEO John Hanke told Forbes last week that the delay is because the companies behind the app (Pokémon and Nintendo) want to ensure that its servers are well-equipped to withstand the demand that the Japan launch is expected to generate.
The game is experiencing extremely high demand all over the globe, causing servers to crash. After "Pokémon Go" was launched in Canada Sunday, the app’s servers were severely overloaded in the hour after the Twitter announcement. “Trainers” in other countries are facing similar troubles, but the developers are working on resolving the issues.
“At present, the server capacity in Japan is not powerful enough. We are working hard with our partners in Japan to enable the servers to keep up with demand once the game goes online there. We expect it to be released by the end of July,” Hanke told Forbes.
However, sources confirmed to TechCrunch that "Pokémon Go" will go live in Japan Wednesday.
The launch in Japan is also significant as it is reported to be the first instance where Nintendo has tied up with an official partner — McDonald's.
TechCrunch reported that McDonald's will be the first launch partner in a tie-in where more than 3,000 of its fast food restaurants across the country will become gyms for Pokémon collectors. The collaboration could be a significant one if "Pokémon Go" is able to sustain itself beyond being a short-lived craze. It will then be replicated in other parts of the world, proving to be highly lucrative for both the game makers and brands seeking an increased number of customers.
Japan will be the first country in Asia to welcome the game. Addressing delays in introduction into Korea and China, Hanke said, “ Google ’s map information system in Korea is limited due to security concerns over North Korea. In China, however, it is technically possible, but difficult to introduce due to the many hurdles, or should I say regulations we’d have to clear to get it to users.”
Niantic, however, expects the game to expand to over 200 countries within the next few months.