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The wait is over for ‘Pokemon Go’ fans in Japan

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A girl walks past stuffed toys of Pokemon characters displayed on the shelves for sale during a Pokemon festival in Tokyo on Monday. “Pokemon Go,” a compulsive smartphone game, was made available to the Japanese public on Friday morning.

TOKYO » The wait is over for “Pokemon Go” fans in Japan.

Users began tweeting it was available Friday morning, and the Pokemon Co. and the developer of the augmented reality game, U.S.-based Niantic Inc., confirmed its launch shortly after.

“Pokemon Go” is expected to be a huge hit in Japan, the country of the character’s birth. Fans have been eagerly awaiting its release since it first came out more than two weeks ago in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, and then became a blockbuster hit in more than 20 countries.

The launch in Japan includes a tie-up with McDonald’s Japan that is seen as a potential expansion of its revenue base beyond the sale of in-app purchases. The details of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but McDonalds said that about 400 McDonald’s stores in the country are designated as “gyms” where players can battle on their smartphones.

The game was initially available for android smart phones but not immediately for iPhones. It appeared in the Japan Apple store about 30 minutes later.

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