Pokémon Go: Egyptians hunt virtual Pokémon on Cairo's streets

Zeinab El-Gundy , Sunday 10 Jul 2016

Although the game has not been officially released in Egypt, Egyptian users have used hacks to download the app, which has been spreading like wildfire among young gamers

Pokémon Go
Pokémon Go

The popular ‘Pokémon Go’ mobile game has arrived in Egypt, with many young gamers searching for Pokémon creatures throughout the crowded streets of Cairo.

According to Google trends, Pokémon Go has been at the top of trending search terms in Egypt in the past 48 hours, competing  with the Ahly and Zamalek football match and the Al-Azhar secondary stage exam results.

Released by US-based Niantic Labs in early July, Pokémon Go is an “augmented reality mobile device game” that allows its users to capture, battle, train and trade virtual creatures based on the popular Japanese Pokémon franchise.

When using the app, players can see a virtual projection of the Pokémon creatures in real time through their phone’s camera and GPS.

The game reached the top of the charts on US App stores’ “top grossing” and “free” game charts after it was released in early July, with millions downloading the game.

It gained both success and controversy after its release, with safety concerns raised and disclaimers issued urging users to pay attention to their surroundings while walking the streets as they play the game.

Although the game has not been officially released on Egypt's official Android and iOS stores, Egyptian users have used hacks to download the app, with many on social media saying they have played the game.

However, some have brought up the potential difficulty of using such an app on Cairo's busy streets.

"It might get hard sometimes, when you suddenly stop to catch a Pokémon and [point your phone’s camera] at a store or at someone walking or at a police station," Hisham Yousry, a social media specialist who plays the game, told Ahram Online.

Yousry also commented on the game’s challenging yet addicting nature.

"Saturday night, I took my scooter and went searching for nearby Pokémon," he said, adding that he gets hundreds of mentions on Twitter by people asking him various questions about the game.

Egyptian players have posted photos online showing virtual Pokémon creatures in various public places, including Mosques and churches. 

The Pokémon creatures can be found anywhere, as Ahram Online reporters found a Pokémon at the site’s offices during an editorial meeting. 

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