There's apparently only one place to play Pokemon GO in South Korea. This is it. [Images via Wiki Tree]
[Image via Inven]
Elsewhere in the country it cannot be played, even through unofficial downloads, because it will not pick up a GPS signal and Pocket Monsters will not appear on maps.
Yet, the top images show Korean Pokemon GO players. They were taken last night by Korean site Wiki Tree.
In this tweet, you can see how South Korea is divided up into diamond-shaped areas, where it's not possible to play Pokemon GO:
포켓몬 불가지역. 속초 울릉도는 가능 pic.twitter.com/8CwIdBOAi0
— 버블버블버블벗 (@mangonaam) July 12, 2016
But it looks like Sokcho, located at the far northeast of the country, was a blindspot.
Perhaps Niantic created this grid because it doesn't have near-term plans to release the game in South Korea? If so, there could be a good reason, because, as Sang points out, releasing it might be extra tricky because private Korean companies hold much of the country's highly detailed mapping data.
In the meantime, here are Pokemon GO images from folks in Sokcho. Check out how many times they have been retweeted to get an idea of how much interest Korean gamers have:
집안에서 포켓몬을 잡는 그 곳
— 가흔 (@pm0413) July 12, 2016
속초 김밥천국 근황.jpg 엌ㅋㅋ pic.twitter.com/DWzzRohMjB
— 노잼 잉여 (@lazialita84) July 13, 2016
잉어킹만 나온다고 까서 죄송합니다.. 갓속초 인정합니다 ㅠㅠbb pic.twitter.com/th5pzdTLYy
— 예섬 (@hnjari) July 13, 2016
And below is a video of people playing Pokemon GO at a park in Sokcho.
The Huffington Post Korea spoke with the mayor of Sokcho. He said he has become aware that it was possible to play Pokemon GO there and asked people to be safe if they intend to visit the city. The city's Facebook page even posted a list of all the Wi-Fi spots in Sokcho for visitors:
[Image via Facebook]
That brings us to... Herald Corporation (via tipster Sang) has been reporting that all the busses to Sokcho from Seoul were sold out yesterday. Another report stated that bus tickets to Sokcho were sold out through the weekend.
This is making the evening news in South Korea, with networks reporting how people can play Pokemon GO in South Korea:
[GIF via YTN NEWS]
[GIF via 연합뉴스 TV]
Which probably helped bus ticket sales.
And where there are excited people, there are also those looking to profit. These folks are offering to hatch eggs at 1km for a mere 1000 won, which at the current exchange rate is $1.16.
속초 신알바 ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ pic.twitter.com/wFI0ISm02T
— 품명 (@k0904jh) July 14, 2016
— 현재에 충실한 만화가 원현재 (@302NOW) July 14, 2016
Gotta hatch 'em all.