Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago is pretty much a trainwreck

If you’ve ever been to a massive gathering of tech-savvy people — like say, a gaming convention — you know better than to rely on the internet for sending emails or tweeting consistently, let alone for gaming itself. That’s just one of the lessons being learned by Niantic and the thousands of people who paid for tickets to Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago this weekend.

Multiple outlets are reporting that not only can many people inside the park not connect to play, but there have been huge lines outside the park as people still wait to get in. When Niantic CEO John Hanke took the stage to calm everyone, he was subsequently booed and heckled while issuing apologies. Ouch.

Popular fansite The Silph Road reports that Niantic is offering refunds and chunks of currency, but that won’t help all people who flew in from out of state — or out of country — for an event that’s gone south.

Massively OP POGO specialist Andrew Ross tells us that the event itself appears to be bugged and includes content that could be construed as pay-to-win. “Not only is there the most powerful regional at the event but another super rare pokemon,” he said, and that’s in addition to free raids for ticket holders. “People at the event are getting huge advantages, but I was told this was to be a purely ‘social’ event [during our E3 interview].”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yktrQAJNbAc

Source: Gaminformer, Kotaku, Reddit, Twitter. Cheers, Pepperzine!
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24 Comments on "Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago is pretty much a trainwreck"

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zeko_rena

Did people seriously fly in for something like this haha, dedication.

Still kind of sad that you can’t get a group of people together in one place and keep a connection, its 2017 ffs

Saying that my “VDSL” is running at between 0.4 mbps and 10 mbps at the moment, I really hate New Zealand

wisemagius
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wisemagius

No. Can’t be true.

Please tell me they thought up about installing sufficient wireless APs around the park area. Otherwise they need to fire their network/IT or whomever planned the event.

Cell towers can only support a finite number of people at a time. Any event attracting a good number of them CANNOT rely just on cell towers for data communications. Just take a look at the Olympics and other sporting events. They deploy massive wireless mesh networks to support the attendants and that is not even the main focus of sporting events!

What a noob mistake.

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Alberto

Also any convention center ever…yeah IT people need to be kicked to the curb for this if they though the local cell towers could handle the vast number of people plus normal cell traffic in a Major city! DERP

wisemagius
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wisemagius

No, not the IT people, whomever organized the infrastructure for the event or whomever pushed to save money by relying on the cell network. It’s a major fail.

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Mr_Fester

Just like going to any convention like PAX East, West, South. Comic Con. The organizers do not call the providers to ask for more cell site support. It always sucks.

wisemagius
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wisemagius

It is worse, way worse. This event is all about an online mobile game. They should have prepared for the worst case, at least 90% of the attendees, playing the game plus some headroom. Tickets were sold. They had the numbers. :/

Mewmew
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Mewmew

I don’t quite understand either. Surely they knew how many tickets they sold and that everybody there would be on their phones playing. They just thought the normal networks would cover this?

There were people in charge of setting this up and a number of them really do need to get fired for real – not just some poor sap on the bottom rung but multiple people were responsible and should be fired. This is the type of stupidity and pure incompetence you don’t want working for your company. The event was ruined, a blowout. The money people spent and distance traveled, ugh. Even if they do get refunds it was a pure waste of time.

Not only that but they were going there to get their pay to win Pokemon. Of course part of me doesn’t want to feel too bad that they missed out on getting them, but they were promised a chance to get them there and this was a major reason a lot of people were going.

Such a blunder. I mean seriously if someone doesn’t get fired, then the people above them that chose not to fire them should get fired, and then those original people should still get fired too. They should be fired, re-hired, and fired again for good measure.

wisemagius
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wisemagius

It is either because of incompetent or pure non-technical people leading their infrastructure team (it happens) or maybe an overriding decision from above. :/

Tamanous
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Tamanous

This is humorous on so many levels. ;)

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Jack Pipsam

He kept going like a trooper.

Bluxy
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Bluxy

take a look at music festivals….. mobiles dont work coz there is so many ppl

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ichi sakari

Pokemon is a slave trade and Pikachu is a slave master

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/hardball-homeland-security/2860831

Andrew Ross
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Andrew Ross

Great clip. McCain for Saturday Night Live Host in 2018 (or sooner) please.

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Utakata

Looks like they’re having their Fyre Fest moment. o.O

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Dystopiq

Fyre Fest was a disaster. This is simply an inconvenience.

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Utakata

It is why I mentioned “moment” as opposed to the entire event.

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BalsBigBrother

Yipes that booing video was an uncomfortable watch. :-(

It would seem folks have good reason to be frustrated and Niantic do seem to have dropped the ball but I will still give the CEO a bit of credit. Going out in front of a somewhat hostile crowd to say sorry takes a good bit of nerve. I know many a person who would have thrown a flunkie to the wolves so to speak if they found themselves in a similar situation.

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Fisty

Quietly standing there reminded me of what you’d see on like Silicon Valley or something.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Would it be considered a Pokemonumental failure then…?

POKEMONUMBNUTS.gif
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McGuffn

This is terrible. A+

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Armsman

I don’t play or care about this game in any way – but as usual – Schlag Sweetleaf scores another great bullseye in hilarious fashion RE: the situation as reported at this event. Thanks for the laugh.

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Greaterdivinity

This feels more or less like a pattern for Niantic, by now : /

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

And that is SO disappointing, not just as a current Pokemon fan, but one that has some good memories about the early GameBoy ones that involved giving out Pokemon like Mew and Surfing Pikachu.

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Greaterdivinity

Yeah, I feel crushed for all the folks that were super hyped about this, especially the folks that traveled long distances to go to the first one. Ugh, how many more massive technical failures is it going to take before Niantic can get their shit together?

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