Game developer Niantic Labs held their very first real-world Pokemon GO event in Chicago on Saturday, July 22, 2017. It didn’t quite go as planned. In the midst of widespread technical issues, Niantic company representatives were booed loudly.
Pokemon GO events thus far have been only in-game. More water Pokemon or other promotions to encourage people to play the game have been the extent of it. There have not been any official meet-ups for trainers organized by Niantic until now.
The very first event took place in Chicago, IL. It signaled the release of legendary Pokemon into the wild. Approximately 20,000 trainers flooded Grant Park from Chicago, as well as from all over the country. The day promised more Pokemon encounters, more eggs, and the chance to catch Articuno and Lugia – the first Legendaries in the game. Instead, multitudes of trainers were unable to log into the game. They experienced network errors and basically paid money to stand around in a crowd and watch each other get frustrated.
As Niantic officials walked onto a stage to address the crowd, many trainers booed and chanted, “Fix the game!” That’s obviously not the response you want if you’re a developer. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first technical hiccough for the company. The game’s launch in the summer of 2016 on iPhone and Android was very glitchy, to say the least.
Niantic swiftly reacted. They announced at the Chicago event and on their website that they would do the right thing:
Niantic is taking the following steps immediately:
- 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.
Despite that bad day, it’s awesome to see the company taking care of their trainers. After all, people paid a lot of good money to attend the event, and pay even more money on a daily basis to play the game all over the world.
Were any of you geeks at the Pokemon GO Fest Chicago event, and would this prevent you from attending one in the future? Let us know what you think!