You Had One Job, Pokemon Go Fest

Festival turns disastrous, offers thousands of refunds
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2017 3:04 PM CDT
Shockingly Little Pokemon Go at Pokemon Go Fest
Frustrated Pokemon Go players voice their displeasure during the first-ever Pokemon Go Fest on Saturday in Chicago. Organizers eventually refunded all 15,000 to 20,000 attendees.   (Twitter)

The first-ever Pokemon Go Fest—held Saturday at Grant Park in Chicago—was forced to refund its approximately 15,000 to 20,000 attendees after it proved near-impossible for them to actually play Pokemon Go at the event, the Chicago Tribune reports. According to TechCrunch, every cell network was down inside the park within 20 minutes of the festival starting. Kotaku states connection errors made the popular game "unplayable." For those who somehow managed to get online, the game itself was also having issues. Attempts to capture a monster—part of the draw of the festival was the chance to catch rare Pokemon—resulted in error screens.

John Hanke, the CEO of Pokemon Go developer Niantic, took the stage to boos and chants of "we can't play" and "fix the game." But it wasn't just the people inside the park having a bad time. Lines to enter Pokemon Go Fest stretched for blocks, with some people reporting waiting four hours to get inside. With problems mounting, organizers announced all attendees would be refunded the $20 ticket price plus an extra $100 in in-game credit. Many attendees traveled from across the country or paid hundreds of dollars for tickets being re-sold online. “It’s a small gesture, but we’re sorry,” Niantic's chief marketing officer told the crowd. “We didn’t envision the day going this way.” (More Pokemon Go stories.)

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