Time to discuss the recent Pokemon GO Fest….
For those of you who don’t know what The Pokemon GO Festival was; In short, it was meant to be this big live-event where Trainers of all ages would be able to meet, battle, and join forces to catch the first Legendary Pokemon added into the game. Unfortunately the event was plagued with disaster, after disaster, after disaster…after disaster.
And I am not exaggerating. The whole event was a mess.
Anything bad that could happen pretty much did.
The festival took place at Chicago’s Grant Park at 10 AM and was set to host over 20,000 trainers that day. Niantic originally had a set number of trainers that could buy tickets and attend the event. Obviously now the event sold out almost as soon as the tickets were available. So what did Niantic do after this? They resold tickets at higher prices.
I don’t know about you guys but that already smells of disaster for me. An estimated 20,000 people in that park and that’s not even including the number of people OUTSIDE of the park who could access the game or you know, their phones.
(Photo courtesy of NBC Chicago )
The day started off with storms and two terribly long lines (Early-Access trainers and General-Access trainers) that wrapped around the park. It took many trainers 3-6 hours just to get in when the event was opened at 10AM.
For trainers who grew frustrated enough to leave before or at the events end it would take over an hour to leave.
If you were lucky enough to get during the first hour of the game, hey, good for you! You were of the few actually able to play the game that entire day. If you weren’t… well, you know how things went the rest of the day then.
(Photo courtesy of GoNintendo)
The park was surrounded with rest stations, charge stations and merch stands for every team. It featured a large stage for announcements by members of Niantic and raid stations for special regional Pokemon to be caught by trainers. Sounds real neat right? it was, for the first hour.
After the first hour the event was plagued by connectivity issues, various glitches, crashes and more.
As these issues sprung up left and right Niantic did their best to remedy the situation. Despite their attempts only a few of the issues were resolved and it still left the massive majority of players unable to play. Those who were able to play again were only able to for a few minutes if they were lucky.
While Niantic continued to work on the issues they made several announcements throughout the event, blaming the issues on the large crowds and phone companies like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and etc.
Many Trainers grew angry and took their anger out on Niantic itself. They booed, and chanted things like “Fix the Game” and “We can’t play” whenever a member of Niantic took to the stage. As things escalated the people began to throw various debris at the unfortunate Niantic members and even the CEO on stage.
However, the employees of Niantic held their heads up high in spite of this disgusting behavior from some of the fans.
At the end of the day Niantic stepped up to remedy the irritation once and for all, or so they hoped. Refunds were issued along with additional in-game items. The list goes as such:
- All registered attendees will soon receive an email with instructions on how to receive a full refund for the cost of their ticket. These instructions will be sent to the email addresses associated with your Pokémon GO account.
- All registered attendees will receive $100 in PokéCoins in their Pokémon GO account.
- Special Pokémon, Eggs, and check-in PokéStops appearing during Pokémon GO Fest have had their range increased to a two mile radius surrounding Grant Park through Monday morning, July 24. These Pokémon and Eggs will only be visible to Pokémon GO Fest attendees who validated the QR code they received when they entered Pokémon GO Fest. Attendees who were unable to validate their QR code during the event can do so through the special PokéStops through Monday morning.
- All registered attendees will have the Legendary Pokémon, Lugia, added to their account.
Shortly after the event Niantic followed up with an apology to the attendees and fans of the game. It reads:
“Today at Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, technical issues created problems for a large number of players attending the event. From everyone at Niantic, we apologize to all of the Trainers who came out to Pokémon GO Fest today. Although we were able to solve many of the technical issues, we were not able to offer every attendee a great experience…
…We appreciate the patience of all the Trainers who joined us in Chicago this weekend. We will strive to make sure our experiences are of the highest quality going forward.
—The Pokémon GO team “
Legendary Pokemon such as Lugia and Articuno have already been released onto the world as an additional apology.
This wasn’t enough.
Trainers who have attended the event are starting to sue Niantic, most of which are seeking travel reimbursement and broken promises. In an brief chat with Polygon, the Chicago-based attorney Thomas Zimmerman stated that he was contacted by Jonathan Norton and an additional “20 to 30” others who have joined the class-action suit.
Zimmerman claims that the issued refunds and in-game items given to attendees is not enough.
“For people like Norton and others who traveled from out of town for Pokémon Go Fest, their expenses were much greater…
…We’re not seeking any relief with respect to the failure to get legendary Pokémon, because Niantic is offering that,” he told us. “But Niantic is not offering to refund people’s travel expenses for coming to Chicago. Most of the people came from out of state, many people from other countries — I talked to someone who flew in from Japan.”
Of course, Niantic has yet and refuses to comment on the legal action currently.
How many trainers will join the class-action suit is likely to grow, especially since there were over 20,000 people there so you can expect updates to come as we hear and learn them.
That’s all for now, Nerds. Now it’s your turn, tell us in the comment section what your thoughts on the event were. Did you attend? Did you enjoy yourself or were you one of many Trainers that felt burned by the event? We’d love to hear your thoughts.