Young Brazilians are more excited for Pokemon Go than the Olympics.Forget beach volleyball, tennis or gymnastic. Pokemon Go is challenging the Olympics for most popular game among young Brazilians.Proving Pokemon go > Rio Olympics.Hundreds of young brazilians turned out in a Rio de Janeiro park on Saturday holding their mobile phones to hunt for some amazing pokemon, this hyper-reality game app that’s becoming a craze in Brazil since its release two days before the Rio Olympics.
“I went to a football game to see Brazil v/s Sweden, but after Pokemon Go started I lost interest,” said student Lourdes Drummond at the Quinta da Boa Vista park, once the gardens of the Brazilian royal family.The blockbuster game developed by Niantic, in which Japan’s Nintendo Co has a large stake, uses AR and GPS mapping to make animated characters appear in the real world. Players see creatures overlaid on the nearby landscape that they see through a mobile phone camera.
Brazil’s third largest mobile phone company Claro estimates that close to 2 million of its users have downloaded the game just in the Rio area since it was released on Aug. 3. An executive of the company owned by Carlos Slim’s America Movil said more than half of those users had been inside or near Olympic venues hunting for Pokemon.
Even athletes have been addicted to the game. Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura downloaded the app when he got to Brazil for pre-Games training before Pokemon Go was launched in the country. He ran up almost $5,000 in international phone charges.That did not stop him winning two gold medals and becoming the first man to claim back-to-back all around titles in over 40 years, and only the fourth in history.
As Rio residents rode paddle boats on the lake of the Boa Vista park, youths explored the grounds seeking the Dragonite and other rare Pokemon to add to their collection. They huddled in the shade of the 19th Century royal palace to swap tips.“There is no interest in the Olympics here, just how to get to the next stop where there are the most Pokemon,” said sociologist Joao Carlos Barssani, 31, himself joining the hunt.
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