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Pokemon Go Fest, the massive event dedicated to the popular mobile game, Pokemon Go, had an extremely rough first showing in Chicago this weekend. Just about everything that could have gone wrong did exactly that, but developer Niantic has taken steps to make amends to those who showed up to take part.
Pokemon Go Fest sounded great on paper: Invite a whole bunch of people to a central location to listen to live bands, grab some food, hang out with friends and play Pokemon Go. Along with special events planned throughout the day, folks physically at the event would be taking part in the game's first major raid in order to catch a legendary Pokemon. If they were successful, then legendary Pokemon would start popping up all over the world.
Again, that sounds like a grand ole' time, but it, unfortunately, did not turn out that way. It turns out Niantic did not anticipate the number of participants that would arrive in Chicago for the event, or maybe they seriously overestimated the wireless providers in the area. According to a Polygon report, players were only able to log into Pokemon Go for a short period of time, if at all. And despite efforts to make amends, Niantic CMO Mike Quigley was soundly booed every time he walked on stage to give visitors an update.
So, yes, perhaps Pokemon Go Fest was a bit too ambitious, especially when you're talking about a game that has had stability issues in the past and, to top it off, they were cramming thousands of folks into a tiny area specifically to play their game. We imagine folks in Chicago who weren't even playing the game experienced some cellular issues of their own.
Cruising around the internet, though, it sounds like folks managed to have fun despite all of the issues. It sounds like friendships were made, games were played and, even though the event was a bust, Niantic took steps to make things right.
For starters, everyone in attendance was refunded their cost of admission. Secondly, they were told to keep their eye on their email, as they would all be receiving $100 worth of in-game PokeCoins. Maybe that doesn't stack up even with the cost of airfare and a hotel, but those are the risks you take when attending live events like this.
Finally, in order to spread the load, Niantic set it up so players could hunt down the game's first legendary Pokemon outside the confines of the event. We assume this means they'll also start popping up in the wild soon, if that hasn't happened already.
If you're reading this and you happened to be in attendance at the first Pokemon Go live event, we'd love to hear how your Saturday went in the comments below.