Disastrous 'Pokémon Go' Fest ends with anger and refunds
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Disastrous ‘Pokémon Go’ Fest ends with anger and refunds


Image: Pokémon the first movie/Olm

The first-ever Pokémon Go Fest wasn’t all sunshine, rainbows, and catching Pokémon.

Attendees at the Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago on Saturday were met with a handful of problems upon arriving at the game’s first-ever official event, which was meant to be a celebration of the game’s first year and an opportunity for fans and players to meet each other and work together to earn unique in-game rewards.

Instead, players waited in lines that stretched for blocks to enter Grant Park. Some attendees on Twitter said they waited for two hours just to get in. 

Once inside, players experienced technical difficulties with the game — not an ideal situation when the whole point of the festival is to play the game. The large, concentrated group of players all trying to connect to the game’s servers at the same time appears to have overwhelmed the game and local cell towers.

When Niantic CEO John Hanke came out on stage to address the crowd, he was met with boos and people chanting “We can’t play.”

People were understandably upset considering tickets cost $20 (or up to $100 if bought through a scalper) and many attendees traveled from out-of-state specifically for Pokémon Go Fest.

Part-way through the day, Niantic extended the geographical range of the festival’s in-game activities outside the park, allowing players to spread out and solve some of the issues brought on by heavy congestion. Niantic seemed to solve most of the connectivity issues, but attendees were still upset about the whole situation.

To make up for all the problems players experienced, Niantic offered up refunds for tickets, gave each attendee $100 worth of Pokémon Go credits, and gave every attendee the legendary Pokémon Lugia, which made its first appearance at the festival.

Niantic has more events planned this year in Europe and Japan — hopefully they will be a little more prepared.

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July 23, 2017
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