I’ve stewed on this for a few weeks, and let me note, this article will not be kind. In fact, I walked away from Pokémon Go Fest possibly more upset than I’ve ever been. Yeah, Niantic could have prepared better for this, but there existed a bigger problem—the attendees.
I will start off by saying, I didn’t sleep the night before. I didn’t sleep for 36 straight hours. It rained the entire time I was in line. I stood/walked/ran in boots without orthotics (my fault) for 13 hours. The rain turned into a humid, hot hell hole. The sky decided that clouds were unnecessary and my face and neck got torched. I walked 14 miles with foot screaming pain for 10 hours. My game crashed ~80 times while I was there. The game dropped me from four raids. And you know what? I had a great f*cking time.
I understand people paid for a flight and hotel to come here. It makes complete sense to me that at a Pokémon Go event, one would expect the game to work. Yes, the line took forever. But you now what? They checked in 20,000 people and inspected all their bags needed—of course, that’ll take a while. The wifi/internet sucked. Have you ever been to a sporting event? I’ve been to major league football, basketball, and baseball games. The internet sucks there too, and those are state-of-the-art, billion dollar stadiums.
I don’t blame people for being mad. I blame them for being unrealistic *ssholes.
We were provided with updates every hour. And every hour, the people on stage were booed so loud that you couldn’t hear the speaker talking. You booed the CEO. You threw a water bottle at a volunteer on stage. If Niantic canceled the event then and there, I would have said we deserved it. They weren’t just behind the stage laughing at us—they tried to fix everything that went wrong.
Instead, Niantic did a stand-up thing. They issued an apology, refunded everyone’s ticket cost, gave every attendant $100 in coins (14,500 coins to be exact), extended the Pokemon spawn radius to two miles outside the park (probably to help declutter the networks), extended the bonuses we earned an extra five days, gave us all the Legendary Pokemon Lugia for free, released Articuno, and made Lugia’s and Articuno’s catch rate 100% for those of us in Chicago.
They did ALL THAT. Ticket refunds alone are going to cost them $400,000. They also gave away $2 Million in Pokemon coins. And yet, I continue to see Niantic trashed. People want to sue over airfare and hotel costs. Good luck with that.
Personally, I had a wonderful time. I caught 10 Heracross, 7 Unown, 2 Tyranitar, 2 Articuno, and 2 Lugia, and probably 200 other Pokemon in those 10 hours. I loved the event, mishaps and all. If they hold another Go Fest next year, I’ll be going to that one too.
My word of advice for next year—be prepared for the worst and don’t be an *sshole.