The Japanese mobile market has become immense in recent years and the government has had to get involved with various large free to play games as a result. It seems that Pokémon GO may be the next game in line for this kind of intervention. Specifically, the in-game currency of Pokémon GO, that of its PokéCoins, may need to be regulated as Forbes reported. This is because the currency is bought in packets and that would result in unused currency.
The Financial Services Agency in Japan wants the balance of unused PokéCoins revealed in March and September of every year. If this figure exceeds 10 million yen (or $ 96 thousand), then 50 % of that balance needs to be deposited in a Japanese bank account as security. This is also being discussed with Niantic currently and it’s unclear what will happen.
Unfortunately for Pokémon GO, monetization in mobile gaming in Japan is something of a contentious subject. This is because many companies here have had governmental regulation after financially exploiting their users. The biggest of these scandals occurred back in 2012, where the “gacha” mechanic was called out as being overly exploitative.
This situation with Pokémon GO is different though, as it seems the Financial Services Agency want to merely regulate how the game’s currency is earned. The only thing that is somewhat unfair on Pokémon GO is that the kind of monetization it uses is by no means new. However, due to its immense popularity it’s clear the Japanese government is concerned. How this situation will resolve on Pokémon GO could have ffar-reaching consequences for the rest of the mobile gaming industry in Japan.