Japan's delayed 'Pokemon Go' launch will feature sponsored 'gyms'

Unfortunately, McDonald's is paying.

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Mat Smith
July 20th, 2016
In this article: business, gaming, gear, mobile, nintendo
Japan's delayed 'Pokemon Go' launch will feature sponsored 'gyms'
Server problems, earnestly waiting for the start of Japan's school holidays, or perhaps signing the dotted line on a sweet, sweet fast-food sponsorship deal? Whatever the true reason for the pause, Japan appears to finally be getting in on the Pokemon Go boom. A leaked internal email across Japanese forums has delayed the launch until tomorrow, at the same time confirming TechCrunch's report of McDonald's-sponsored gyms and in-game locations. Apparently, the leak first scuppered a July 20th morning launch in Japan, pushing it back later in the day.

(Update: McDonald's has issued a short press release, confirming the forthcoming collaboration, but not giving any solid release dates.)

According to TechCrunch sources, the companies (Niantic, McDonald's and The Pokemon Company) have decided to cancel the launch -- at least until tomorrow, citing that the hype generated could overload the game. No offense, everyone, but that's still happening everywhere else in world. Nikkei also reported that the game would launch tomorrow, although it's recently corrected its article to suggest later in the week. In short, no-one knows.

McDonald's Japan has recently seen sales soar following its recent Pokemon-themed Happy Meals, while Nintendo saw its share price double. Which is even crazier, given that it didn't even make the Pokemon smartphone game. The leak detailed some issues that the companies need to tackle -- including Pokemon / McDonald's gyms with poor connectivity, and pesky customers taking up space without buying more burgers or matcha flavored McFlurries. If the game does actually arrive tomorrow, I'll buy myself McDonald's, in the name of Pokemon Go journalism.

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