pokemon go

Disastrous Pokémon GO Fest Results in Mass Refunds

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When Pokémon GO first launched in July 2016, it instantly became a cultural phenomenon. Its unprecedented mainstream popularity lead to widespread network issues that lasted for weeks.

Unfortunately all reports from last Saturday’s Pokémon GO Fest on July 22 tell a similar story. While it was meant to be a fun one-year celebration gathering, it instead brought back the same network issues that plagued the game at launch.

Connection issues hampered excited players throughout the day, with most event-goers unable to do the one thing they bought a ticket for. Amenities and organization were also subpar, with few charging stations and very long lines to get in (and out of) Grant Park.

Pokémon GO Fest ended up being such a disaster that Niantic announced mass refunds for everyone who attended ($20 ticket price). They’re also offering $100 worth of PokeCoins. Of course many people paid much more than that with airfare, hotel stay, and the typical overpriced event food.

There’s a video now circulating on YouTube from the event that features very disgruntled event-goers, and Niantic CEO John Hanke being booed on stage.

Niantic released an official statement:

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.

In addition to the refund and PokeCoins, all attendees will have the Legendary Pokémon Lugia added to their account. Lugia was meant to be the big reward for completing the challenges, but connectivity problems lead to Niantic simply releasing it. Apparently Team Mystic came out ahead on the few Pokémon captures that could be earned, unlocking Articuno as the other Legendary Pokémon.

Given how well Niantic has supported Pokémon GO and stabilized the servers following its rough launch, it’s exceedingly disappointing to see a large-scale event like this crash and burn. Niantic has had a year to iron out the kinks. You would think they’d be able to better prepare for an actual scheduled, ticketed event.

 

pokemon go

Pokémon GO Fest Chicago Will Include a Global Event

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Pokémon GO’s one year anniversary celebration is in full swing. Niantic has finally detailed what exactly is going down at their ticketed celebratory event Pokémon GO Fest, and it is a neat way to integrate with players all over the world.

Pokémon GO Fest takes place Saturday, July 22 in Grant Park, Chicago, IL. Three Challenge Windows will task both players at the festival and Pokémon GO players everywhere. For the first challenge, festival goers need to catch different types of Pokémon in order to unlock certain rewards. Catching enough water Pokémon grants an XP bonus, while Fire gives out more Candy. These are global rewards that will benefit everyone playing Pokémon GO.

If you’re not attending the event in Chicago, you can still participate. The duration of these earned bonuses are tied to how many Pokémon everyone else catches around the world. Reaching Bronze increases the bonus by 24 hours, and Silver by 48 hours. If enough Pokémon are caught to reach Gold tier, it will unlock the second Challenge Window, which Niantic is keeping a mystery. Completing the second Challenge will reward the third, which unlocks “a major global reward.”

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Niantic hasn’t release the actual numbers required to hit any of these target goals. It would be disappointing for those who paid to play at Pokémon GO Fest to not even unlock the later challenges. I’m fairly certain Niantic won’t let that happen.

The one year mark is also celebrated through new loot boxes and hat-wearing Pikachu. Special Anniversary Boxes can be purchased at a discount in the in-game shop. They include Incubators, Ultra Balls, and Raid Passes for the recently added Raid Battles. Any wild-caught Pikachu can be found wearing Ash’s iconic hat from the Pokémon animated TV show. These extra perks last until July 24.

Pokémon GO Fest takes place on July 22.