Grant Park in Chicago held the first live Pokemon Go Fest event today, but the reports coming out of The Windy City paint a picture of anger and confusion as players who've gathered at the park can't even log into the Pokemon Go app. It's gotten so bad that Niantic will apparently be refunding tickets to attendees.
"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," said Niantic CEO John Hanke, who came on stage to boos from the crowd. Other players were reportedly chanting "Fix the servers!" and "We can't play!" at the CEO.
The Pokemon Go Fest was supposed to be a celebratory event that promised rare Pokemon, special events, medals, and eggs. Despite taking place in Chicago, Niantic promised that the Pokemon Fest would also be a worldwide event where players from across the globe could participate with players in Chicago to unlock special bonuses.
Instead, the event has been plagued by poor connectivity, long lines, and other issues. Reporters from multiple outlets have been covering the various problems plaguing the live event, key of them being that players can't seem to even log into the servers for more than seconds at a time. GameInformer's reporter on the scene even said that logging into the press wifi at the event didn't help his server connection issues.
Long lines are also preventing paying Pokemon Go players from entering the festival grounds, with players heading to Twitter to document their own ordeal.
The Silph Road, an official Pokemon Go community group tweeted that Niantic will be offering full refunds to Pokemon Go Fest ticket holders, along with $100 in PokeCoins. However, with visitors reportedly from all over the world, it's hard to see how a refund for the $10 ticket could be a proper reimbursement for players who've come from other countries like Canada and Japan.
Due to degraded experience on overtaxed cell networks, Niantic will be offering full refunds to GO Fest ticket holders + $100 in PokeCoins.— The Silph Road (@TheSilphRoad) July 22, 2017
The server issues also put into jeopardy the Legendary Pokemon available for capture. Widely advertised before the start of the festival, the Pokemon Go Fest would unlock a legendary Pokemon Raid battle if players at the festival and around the world reached an unknown goal by 6 pm CT. However, with servers down, it's unknown if players will catch a legendary Pokemon today, let alone the rare Pokemons already spawning at the event.
It remains to be seen how Niantic will address the issues at hand as it seems that the company is working on the scene to fix these problems.