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Image credit: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

China won't allow 'Pokémon Go' unless it's deemed safe

The country is nervous that augmented reality might pose a security risk.

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Reuters/Tyrone Siu

Don't expect to play Pokémon Go in Shanghai any time in the near future. China's official censorship body has declared that it won't license any augmented reality games until it has had a chance to determine whether or not they're a danger to personal safety and "national security." That last part is likely the real showstopper -- the government doesn't want you wandering near sensitive areas just because you're looking for a wild Pikachu.

It's not certain which way the censor is leaning at the moment, but we wouldn't count on it allowing Pokémon Go in particular. Even if you grab the game from a foreign app store and use data roaming to dodge censorship, it'll show you a blank map so long as you're in China. Google services like Maps are blocked in the country, so it's doubtful that officials would make an exemption just for gamers.

The statement reflects just how much disagreement there is over augmented reality at the moment. While countries like China see it as a potential threat, the US and other countries openly embrace it -- if sometimes just for the sake of money. It could be a long, long while (if ever) before AR enjoys a broad level of acceptance around the world.

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