Pokemon Go available for download in Singapore

Smash hit Pokemon Go is finally available for play in Singapore. PHOTO: SCREENSHOT FROM APP STORE, GOOGLE PLAY

SINGAPORE - Smash hit Pokemon Go is finally available for play in Singapore.

As of Saturday (Aug 6) morning, the mobile game could be downloaded from both the Apple and Google Play stores.

Fans in Singapore had been eagerly anticipating the launch of the game here, and the good news was announced on the official Pokemon Go Facebook account at around 9am.

The app is currently free to download but users can pay for credits to purchase in-game items like Poke Balls.

Besides Singapore, the game was also launched in 14 other Asia and Oceanic countries and territories, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Game maker Niantic's last update on Wednesday (Aug 3) had announced Pokemon Go's debut in Brazil - just in time for the Rio Olympics - and across Central and South America.

Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm since its launch in Australia, New Zealand and the US in early July, before it was gradually introduced across Europe.

Japan - the home of Pokemon - was the first Asian country to have the game available on July 22, with Hong Kong the next to join in the frenzy a couple of days later.

At last count, there have been more than 100 million downloads of the game.

Using geo-location and augmented reality features on their mobile devices, the goal is for players to scour various real-life locations in the hopes of finding and capturing virtual Pokemon such as cuddly yellow Pikachu.

The game marries a classic 20-year-old Nintendo franchise that was wildly popular in the late 1990 and early 2000s.

It is on its way to becoming the first mobile game to break the US$4 billion-per-year barrier, beating Candy Crush Saga. Japan's Nintendo owns 32 per cent of the Pokemon Company, which holds Pokemon's intellectual property.

While Pokemon Go has been praised as a fun way to get people outdoors, it has also attracted safety warnings about not walking into oncoming traffic, straying into restricted areas, or becoming victims of crimes.

Hours after Pokemon Go's Singapore launch, the Singapore Police Force posted an advisory on its Facebook page, urging the public to place their personal safety above "catch em' all".

It also listed several tips for players to take note of while out catching Pokemon.

National water agency PUB, also in a Facebook post, reminded people to be safe as some Pokestops - real-life locations where players travel to in order to get virtual items - could be located near Singapore waterways.

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