Last month Pokemon Go held an event to celebrate its 1 year anniversary. Pokemon Go Fest, held in Chicago, was supposed to be a fun day out where legendary Pokemon could be captured. Instead, it was far from fun.
Attendees who paid $20 for a ticket or more waited hours to get inside the event at Grant Park only to be unable to play at all once they entered. While there were server issues, there were also problems from the cellphone towers in the immediate area, which were overloaded with Pokémon Go-related traffic.
Now, “20-30” attendees have joined a class action lawsuit against Niantic Labs for the way the event was handled. Chicago area attorney Thomas Zimmerman is arguing that Niantic did not fulfill promises made about the nature of the event and that the company should be responsible for travel expenses from those that came from out of town.
Niantic began attempting restitution hours into the event, promising to refund all tickets as well as give each attendee $100 in free Pokécoins and to ensure that everyone who came to the event would get the Legendary Pokémon Lugia, meant to be the centerpiece of the event. Still, Zimmerman argues, that doesn’t go far enough. Tickets, for example, cost a paltry $20, which is a drop in the bucket of expenses for players that came from the world over and stayed in Downtown Chicago hotels to come to the Fest. Those players were out a considerably larger amount of money than those that only paid for tickets.
The tickets for Pokémon Go Fest sold out in 10 minutes and were being scalped for hundreds of dollars. Niantic knew exactly how many people were going to show, and still somehow couldn’t handle it.
Niantic has also pushed back some of its European events in the wake of Chicago. Meanwhile in Japan a similar event appeared to go off without a hitch.
The franchise has been nothing but successful since its launch 20 years ago. When Pokemon Go launched it reinvigorated the brand to new heights and is still widely popular. While the Festival was a disaster it appears Niantic is learning from their mistakes. Pokemon Go is here to stay, at least for now.