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‘Pokémon Go’ fans use VPNs to play game in India

/ 04:32 PM July 27, 2016
Shivanu Mandal, left, and Geet Singh look at their screens as they play "Pokemon Go" in front of the landmark India Gate monument in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 22, 2016. Fans have found a way to access the game although it has not been released in the country yet. (AP Photo/Thomas Cytrynowicz)

Shivanu Mandal, left, and Geet Singh look at their screens as they play “Pokemon Go” in front of the landmark India Gate monument in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 22, 2016. Fans have found a way to access the game although it has not been released in the country yet. AP

NEW DELHI — “Pokémon Go,” the highly addictive online game, has landed in India and thousands are out searching for Pokémon characters as the mania spreads.

Although it has not been launched officially in India, the augmented-reality-based game has caught on, with fans also using virtual private networks (VPNs) to change their locations and catch Pokémons in New York and London while sitting in their Indian homes.

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Organized “Pokéwalks” are becoming common in cities such as Mumbai and New Delhi, where hundreds are gathering to catch Pokémons.

“You really feel like you’re walking around in tall grass, catching all your favorite Pokémons,” said Nikhil Kapil, a 14-yar-old in Mumbai.

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The highly popular gaming app has become a global phenomenon after it was launched in most countries across North America and Europe. It was recently launched in Japan and Hong Kong, the only two Asian countries where it is officially available to download.

Gamers in India have used hacks or accounts linked to U.S. or U.K.-based app stores to download the game. No launch date has been announced for India.

Siddhant Tyagi, a 21-year-old design student, who has caught all four starter Pokémons — Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander and Pikachu — said he and his friends have been spending an average of four hours a day playing “Pokémon Go,” often walking around landmarks and city parks, where most “Pokestops” are located.

He also uses a VPN to catch Pokémons around the world, while sitting in his New Delhi home.

“I don’t have to wait the whole morning as the people of New York would have to, to go to Central Park,” Tyagi said. “I can easily sit here and battle till whatever time I want.”

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TOPICS: app, Game, India, Pokemon, Pokemon Go, VPN
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