Pokemon GO Fest: What Happened?

July 23, 2017

Pokemon GO Fest took place on July 22nd, 2017 at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois. Since its announcement, players were scrambling to get more info on this exclusive event. Tickets sold out within the hour. People took off work, booked hotels and travel, to attend this promised extravaganza. 

Niantic promoted these things for the event:

  • Event from 10AM to 7PM, lines open at 6AM
  • In-app medal
  • Increased number of Pokestops, which drop exclusive 2km eggs 
  • Increased spawn rate
  • Heracross(region exclusive) catchable at event 
  • Team lounges for players to meet and hang out with friends
  • Community goals for catching Pokemon that unlocked worldwide bonuses
  • If goals were reached an exclusive legendary Pokemon raid, to be unlocked later globally

The event has been widely reported a failure. Niantic is refunding all attendees their price of admission, plus $100 worth of Pokemon Go Coins.

Here is what went down:

  • Reports of people waiting up to six hours to enter the event
  • Cell phone service was overtaxed, resulting in a majority of players unable to connect to the game(AT&T/Verizon/Sprint users mostly affected)
  • Pokemon Go servers also overloaded, affecting players around the globe
  • Events planned by Niantic were delayed
  • Twitch stream of event taken offline randomly for long periods of time
  • Reports of community goals adjusted by coordinators so players met quota
  • Niantic presentations were booed, some audience members threw trash onto the stage
  • Legendary raid cancelled due to connectivity issues
  • Reports of an almost hour long line to exit the event
Our very own Ryan waiting in Line
Pokemon GO Fest: What Happened

GamePress contributor u/RyanSwag was in attendance, and had this to say about his experience: 

The line was bad, no one could really log in or interact with the event, the audio and announcements were ******, the music was weak and not Pokemon themed

...

There was a line to leave, Niantic's solutions to the problems weren't really solutions (they said maybe try going to the north most area of the park since a cell tower is closer there)

...

Like, it felt like they had no ******* idea what they were doing. Just like "welp...pokemon GO"

This reddit post seems to encapsulate the typical attendee experience, courtesy of u/Brookeeeeee:

My Go Fest Experience:

4:00 am Wake Up

6:00 am Flight Departs

6:45 am Flight Arrives. Raining, so I wait at the airpot shortly before taking a Lyft to Grant Park.

8:30 am Arrive at Grant Park. Wait in line... No water, shade, or bathrooms available for 3.5 hours.

11:40 am Enter event. Get QR code. Can't connect to app to activate code. Walk around, trying to open app.

12:30 pm Still no luck with AT&T. I use my Verizon account for a mobile hot spot. Finally able to spin Pokestop. App crashes after each action. Walk around attempting to open app.

1:00 pm Was able to connect long enough to see Snorlax Raid. Attempt to join Raid... Nope.

1:05 pm Very thirsty. Wait in water line for 30 mins.

1:45 pm Stepped in deep mud. Finally got a special 2K egg. Total egg distance registered since event start: .7k. I've been walking around now for 2+ hours.

2:00 pm Wait in food line. Replace Pokemon Go Plus battery. Won't reconnect.

2:30 pm Eat cheese fries.

2:45 pm Stay connected for about 10 mins. Catch unknown. Attempt Lapras Raid. Lapras flees.

3:15 pm Porta Potty ran out of toilet paper. Try another one. Out of paper again. App crashing about every 1-2 minutes.

3:30 pm Seriously consider leaving and just sitting in the airport for the rest of the day. Have no idea what is going on. Attempt to check Reddit and Twitter. Decide I'm going to stay for legendary event.

4:00 pm Hatch my first 2K egg!

4:30 pm App crashing. Won't open at all. All my troubleshooting has failed. I force quit and delete app so I can reinstall... Forget that app is over 100mb and requires wifi to download. Wait in line to leave. Walk 1 mile to find wifi. Download app. Head back to festival. Wait in line to get back in.

5:00 pm App opens again. Nothing happening by stage. Read Reddit. No legendary battle and learn about refund. Leave event.

5:30 pm Catch Lyft back to the airport.

6:45 pm Write this recap. Hope to arrive home by midnight.

So what now?

As the app stands now, all the bonuses unlocked by players at GO Fest are in effect. Until 5PM PST on Monday, the following are true:

  • +3 Bonus candy per catch
  • 2x Bonus candy per hatch
  • 2x Experience(catch, hatch, etc)
  • 2x Stardust per catch
  • 1/3rd egg distance 
  • 1/3rd buddy candy distance
  • Higher encounter rate
Pictures and videos of the event via Twitter
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