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Pokémon GO Fest event in Chicago that took place in Grant Park today was mired with technical difficulties for both the game and the event itself as reported by TechCrunch.

Pokémon GO Fest was slated to be a real-world event where trainers would have opportunities to socialize, engage in raids, and enjoy an increased rate of capturing Pokémon along with a greater variety of spawns. Niantic, Inc. had set up the entire park with Trainer Lounges, on-site challenges, and other amenities.

Unfortunately, the crowd (estimated in size at 15,000-20,000 people) was greeted with a number of technical and logistical issues. Local cellular networks were having difficulty keeping up with the concentration of people in the area, and after 20 minutes they were more or less unusable. The few attendees who were able to get online and into Pokémon GO were having issues with the game itself such as an inability to tap on Pokémon to capture them. This was particularly frustrating given that one of the appeals of the event was spawns from regions outside of Chicago would be available in the area for a limited period; for many Trainers, this was a good opportunity to catch some Pokémon from outside of the region.

Outside of the game’s troubles, the event itself had logistical hiccups. Lines to enter the event stretched around the block, and the state of things more or less remained the same three hours after the event officially began. Displays set up in the park to show which teams controlled which gyms in the area were offline. Niantic’s CEO John Hanke took to the stage to speak with thousands of attendees, many of which shouted phrases such as “Fix your game!” and “We can’t play!”

According to Game Informer’s reporting, Niantic has expanded the bounds of the event to a 2-mile radius around the grounds. Players are reportedly able to capture Unowns and collect rare eggs at Poké Stops. Although there were initial difficulties, it seems like the event hasn’t been a complete loss for people who were lucky enough to attend. Niantic has stated that they will refund attendees their ticket costs and additionally compensate them with $100 with of Poké Coins for their trouble, although it is not yet clear whether or not this will happen automatically or be done on request.

What do you think of how Niantic, Inc. handled the Pokémon GO Fest event in Chicago? Do you think that the technical and logistical issues were preventable or do you think that some sort of unforeseen circumstances caused more trouble than expected? Let us know in the comments below!

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Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!