Pokemon Go took the world by surprise and Iranians also started playing the same day it was released in the US and Australia. Iranians are catching more Pokemons than you think.
No, you read it right. Iranians are actually playing Pokemon Go even though it has not officially been launched in the country yet. Many Iranians are familiar with the usage of VPNs in order to use blocked social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as the services that are blocked for Iranians because of the sanctions. By using a VPN and connecting to a US server and using a US IP, many Iranians actually started playing the game as it debuted in the US . As you may guess, the number of players playing are quite small comparing to countries that the game has been officially launched. But the game had enough users for the officials to make statements and plan regulations structures for the game.
Parks, squares and monuments are now home to Pokemon Gyms and Poke-stops for those who want to buy or obtain Pokeballs. Though the game is not yet viral as it is in many countries, it still has a considerable amount of users even though the users go through a complex process of connecting to through the VPN and hoping that the internet speed which got decreased by the VPN would be sufficient to catch Pokemons (or the one and only Pikachu if lucky).
Users can also use gift cards to get Pokemon coins to buy the items they need in the world’s famous mobile game. Because of the financial sanctions on Iran from the US, Iranians do not have access to credit cards and international payment options. This leaves app store and google play gift cards as the only source for in-app-purchases.
According to Itmen, the head of Iran Computer and Video Games Foundation (AKA IRCG) also has something to say regarding all these Pokemons running around streets of Iran. “We had talks with the game’s developers via email. We stated that if this game wants to be distributed in Iran, it must go through the filters in place by IRCG. And proper coordinations must take place. If this doesn’t happen we have no choice but to ban this game,” stated Hassan Karimi, the head of IRCG.
Hassan Karimi also continued by explaining the two conditions on which the game would be allowed to operate in Iran. The first was about the massive number of users and the high bandwidth the game requires. The game developers must have servers in Iran for their Iranian users, and the second condition is that the hot spot locations of the Pokemons, Pokestops, Gyms and other locations of the game must be placed with coordination with IRCG. The locations of the Pokemons and the key game locations must not be placed in illegal locations like military bases and other location with security sensitivities. As IRCG puts it, If Pokemon Go wants to operate in Iran it has to accept these 2 conditions . “Although we have not officially sent our conditions to the company yet,” said the head of IRCG.
IRCG also stated that according to the conversations and dialogues they had with the Pokemon company, they don’t seem to be interested to officially enter Iran just yet. “Iran’s gaming market is still a bit complex and unknown for international game publishers. This is one of the reasons why they are less concerned to enter Iran,” he continued.
It is said that there will be results on the outcome of these conversations by the next two weeks.