Pokémon Go fans in China celebrate as game briefly available – before the country is blocked again

Gameplay Glitch Allows Chinese and Russian Pokémon Go Players to Play

Chinese and Russian players of Pokémon Go were pleasantly surprised this week when they discovered a brief window of regular gameplay in their countries. This was despite the usual geo-blocking that prevents access to the game in these regions.

Reports collected from the popular Pokémon Go subreddit, TheSilphRoad, revealed that players in China were able to send in-game postcards from iconic locations like Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, a site known for its historical significance and strict government censorship.

Typically, Pokémon Go has been unavailable in many parts of China for years, with tourists often lamenting the inability to play the game while visiting. No Pokémon would appear to catch, and the in-game map would remain blank.

However, on a Sunday evening, a glitch seemed to revive the game across China, allowing players to enjoy the gameplay. Similarly, in Russia, where Niantic had suspended Pokémon Go earlier in 2022, the glitch also enabled gameplay to resume.

Interestingly, despite the geo-blocking, in-game locations for both countries are still present in Niantic’s database. It is unclear whether the game will officially return to these regions anytime soon.

Developer Niantic released a statement through X in 2022, expressing solidarity with the global community and advocating for peace amidst the conflict in Ukraine. They announced the suspension of game downloads and gameplay in Russia and Belarus.

When contacted by Eurogamer, Niantic declined to comment on the brief window of gameplay experienced by Chinese and Russian players on Sunday. Meanwhile, Pokémon Go fans are gearing up for the highly anticipated Go Fest 2024 this weekend, which will feature the release of Mythical Pokémon Marshadow and potentially the introduction of Dynamax from Pokémon’s eighth generation of monsters.