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Pokemon Fest Doesn’t Go

First anniversary of the game's launch beset with problems


This weekend saw the first ever Pokemon Go festival take place in Chicago yesterday to mark the first anniversary of the popular mobile game. To say everything didn’t go to plan would be an understatement.

The idea behind the festival was great in theory but it seems a mixture of poor planning and technical limitations brought the entire thing crashing down. The plan was to encourage players the whole world over work together in order to unlock the long awaited legendary Pokemon. First players globally had to catch a certain number of Pokemon to unlock the games first ever legendary raid at the Pokemon Go festival in Chicago. Once the raid was unlocked players at the festival had to defeat the legendary Pokemon Lugia. If this was achieved then both Lugia and Articuno would start appearing across the world.

Sounds great in theory right? players across the world join in and feel part of the festival whilst those at the festival get to be amongst the first players to defeat and capture a legendary Pokemon. Unfortunately, in practice, it didn’t go so well. First off there were reports on social media of the long queues that didn’t seem to move due to the very small number of turnstiles and the lengthy bag checks before people could gain admittance to the park.

Once in the park, it quickly became clear that no thought had gone into the technical ramifications of so many people in one space playing the game. This overload of players meant mobile networks crashed and the game wouldn’t load. So in essence fans of Pokemon had attended a festival for a mobile game in the hope of winning a rare Pokemon in a game they couldn’t play.

Things got so bad that Niantic announced everybody in attendance would receive a full refund of their admittance fee as well as $100 of in game currency and the legendary Pokemon Lugia. Also to try and alleviate pressure on the mobile networks they would expand the range of the festival to 2 miles outside of the park and introduce legendary raids to the game. This did in fact help and people could once again play and soon reports were flying on of people catching Articuno.

All the problems stemming from the festival seem to be a matter of poor planning and harken back to the release of Pokemon Go when the game crashed constantly due to the high volume of players trying to access the game. It’s a shame such a good idea went so wrong. especially on the back of the new gym system and introducing raids which seem to have gone down well with players