Players at the first ever live Pokémon Go event do not seem happy this morning, judging from reports of long lines and connectivity issues trickling in from Chicago.
For a day, Pokémon Go Fest promised to be a festival full of rare monsters, special raids, medals, and eggs. But as first reported by Game Informer, the game is apparently “unplayable” for many at the event. For people who flew in from out of state, or even out of the country, these issues really suck—they paid a lot of money just to get connection errors. John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, got on a stage at the festival to address these concerns, only to get booed by the crowd. People seem pissed. (Go to around the 8:33 mark below to hear it.)
UPDATE 1:42PM: Things are getting so bad, the crowd started chanting “We can’t play!” at the event organizers:
UPDATE 2:47PM: The event has been so disastrous, many are reporting that Niantic is going to refund attendees for the cost of their tickets, in addition to $100 worth of PokeCoins.
“I know that some of you guys have had trouble getting logged on this morning, and I wanted to let you know that we’re working with the cell companies—AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, trying to get that worked out,” Hanke said, amidst some player heckling. “And we’re working on the game server to get that worked out. So, I want to ask you guys, please know, we’ve got the whole Niantic team working against this, so please be patient with us.”
Meanwhile, many players are struggling to get into the event, period:
That’s just a small sliver of some of the angry tweets directed at Niantic right now.
For some of you, these problems may not come as a surprise—at the height of its popularity, Pokémon Go was defined by its connection issues. Trying to jam thousands of people into a small space somewhere seems to have similarly overloaded servers/cell towers. But, in a way, this affects all other players, too.
The central idea of this event is that folks at Grant Park complete timed challenges alongside folks around the world, but if players can’t even get the game to work or get into the event itself, what is the likelihood we’ll meet the requirements to unlock a legendary later today? So, here’s hoping Niantic can indeed fix whatever is going on, because it’s going to be a shitshow if, after all this hype, players can’t get their special monsters after all.