Niantic-organised Pokemon Go Fest, to celebrate the first anniversary of the widely popular augmented reality mobile game, at Chicago, proved to be a disaster. There were problems of cellular data congestion and server issues at the event, which made it impossible for several attendees to even log into the game. Other than that there was a huge queue of more than 20,000 people in front of Grant Park, where the event was held. All in all, the event was unorganized and catastrophic, as a result of which Niantic now finds itself as a defendant in a proposed class-action lawsuit (PDF) over the scarred festival.
Filed at the Cook County Circuit Court, the lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and alleges that the festival did not live up to the expectations and the hype that Nintendo had created. A California-resident, who traveled to Chicago exclusively for the event has brought the lawsuit and it seeks to represent other aggrieved festival-goers as well.
"Fest attendees, many of whom like Plaintiff traveled to Chicago from other states or countries, had the reasonable expectation of arriving at Grant Park for a day of capturing rare 3D monsters with their friends, families, and other so-called Pokemon Go 'Trainers,' but the reality of the Fest fell flat in comparison to Defendant's promises," the suit said adding, "upon reaching Grant Park, Fest attendees encountered a 'three-mile line' and an unplayable Game."
Things deteriorated so poorly at the event that Niantic ended up offering refunds to the attendees and also $100 worth of Pokécoins to the players. The tickets officially cost $20, but they were sold for much more than that in the secondary market due to of high demand.
"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," Niantic's chief executive, John Hanke, told the crowd at the event on July 22.