Today, Niantic is holding their first ever live event for Pokemon Go in Chicago called “Pokemon Go Fest.” The event promised massive group raids, rare Pokemon, and goals that could eventually unlock Legendary Pokemon for players worldwide. What people have apparently gotten though are long lines and an inability to connect to the game.
— Maria MsDBZbabe (@MsDBZbabe) July 22, 2017
Now, to be clear, the actual Niantic servers seem to be up. I myself just walked around and did a couple of raids. What’s at issue for attendees though is that the cellular networks covering the park are getting jammed by all of the players. I mean, it’s 20,000 people in a concentrated area, all attempting to go online at once.
Did no one think to see if the networks were capable of supporting an event like this before choosing the venue?
Niantic has apologized, and is offering all players who attended a refund and $100 worth of in game Pokecoins. Admission was only $25, but because tickets sold out so quickly many bought their entry through resellers. Those who overpaid said scalpers are (frankly) just going to be out of luck.
Hopefully everyone will learn some good lessons from this (like, say, blanketing the place in Wifi and paying for multiple fiber connections).