Chasing the Holy Grail of Pokémon Go in South Korea

Pokémon Go – a free mobile game that allows gamers to catch capsule monsters around them is taking the world by storm. The game was released in July 2016, available on both Android and iOS, it took less than a week to become the No. 1 free app on the US iTunes Store. It is now available in the US, UK, Australia, Germany and New Zealand.

Pokémon Go in South Korea gameplay


The series of Pokemon games throughout the years since 1996 stem from creator Satoshi Tajiri’s love of catching insects. The new mobile game echoes with this initial concept, allowing gamers to go around to search for Pokémon hidden in the real world, catch them using the Poke Balls and add the newly captured Pokémon into their collection.Pokémon Go in South Korea outside


In Tajiri’s interview with the Time magazine dated 1999, he articulated his concern that “kids play inside their homes now, and a lot had forgotten about catching insects”; Pokémon Go manifests the finest reverberation of Tajiri’s Pokémon goal, inviting gamers to move around in the search for monsters. This is especially true in South Korea, with a surge of Pokémon Go tourists flocking to Sokcho, a coastal city located approximately 3 hours away from Seoul by bus, is the only confirmed place in the country where the app works.

Pokémon Go in South Korea map restrictions
South Korean government restrictions on Google Maps in the region


Digital Marketing Agency

For Pokémon Go to work properly on your device, it requires the use of Google Maps to track the location. But due to the South’s security concerns with the North and its national security law that Korea is still a divided country in war. Thus the South Korean map data cannot be handed over to Google, as a result Google Maps is restricted in South Korea. Yet the excited South Korean gamers have found two loopholes in the city of Sokcho and the remote Shinan County, which are not covered as restricted areas by the South Korean government, the former has been confirmed that Pokémon Go does in fact work there.

Pokémon Go in South Korea sokcho map
Wi-fi coverage in Sokcho


Good news is that the Mayor of Sokcho has promised to increase free Wi-fi zones and smartphone charging areas for its blooming Pokémon Go tourism. It is unsure when the popular game will be available in South Korea. However, Pokémon Go is expected to be released in Japan very soon as suggested by Kento Suga, marketing manager of Niantic inc. in Asia. Then, the city of Busan might have access to the game as it shares the map gird with the Japanese island of Tsushima. Pokémon Go is anticipated to reach a new level of hype in South Korea.