The 2016 Olympic Games, which are poised to start in Rio this Friday, has been mired in controversies about the Zika virus and water pollution for quite some time now, but it looks like the athletes there have something else on their minds: the lack of Pokémon GO in Brazil.
Yes, that's right. Athletes have had to deal with all sorts of problems as they prepared for the games, such as plumbing and electricity in the athletes' village and unclean water, but all of that pales in comparison to the absence of Niantic's hit smartphone game.
Since making its debut in early July, Pokémon GO has been a rollercoaster ride for everyone involved. For Google spinoff Niantic Inc., the launch of the game has no doubt boosted its value and notoriety among gamers. For Nintendo, the success of the game had caused its market value to rise to new heights, only to fall later on when it revealed a pre-financial results report announcement that the game wouldn't have as big of an impact on its earnings as investors expected. Lastly, the players have had the wildest ride of all, and have something of a love-hate relationship with the game: the game itself has been well-received, but Niantic's handling of the game, as well as recent developments, might change things drastically.
Thus far, the game has launched in more than 30 countries or territories, such as the United States, Australia and Japan, but it has yet to be released in Brazil (and South America as whole), leaving the athletes there out of the loop. Of course, many of them took to Twitter to voice their frustrations.
— Joe Clarke (@joeclarkek1) July 26, 2016
So, what would these athletes be doing with Pokemon GO, anyway? Considering that the event features the greatest athletes in the world going head-to-head, one would think that they would be spending most of their time training.
"I wish I could run around in the [athletes'] village catching Pokémon," New Zealand soccer player Anna Green said. "I just can't get it on the phone. It's fine, but it would have been something fun to do."
What will she do instead then? "Train," she replied.
However, while athletes won't be able to play Pokémon GO, they'll still have access to 450,000 condoms — three times as many than at the London Olympics. Officials deny that this move is a response to the Zika virus, which has been linked to miscarriages and birth defects in infants born to women who have been infected.
In the meantime, there are rumors that Pokémon GO will be released this weekend in time for the Rio Olympics, but considering that there has been no official word from Niantic or Nintendo, as well as the previous delay in Japan, it would be best to curb all excitement and wait to see if it actually goes live.