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Lawsuit Starting Over Pokémon GO Fest Failures

by Dylan Siegler

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Last Saturday (July 22), the highly anticipated Pokémon GO Fest Chicago took place, which was meant to celebrate the game’s first anniversary. Attendees were promised the chance to catch rare Pokémon, including ones that are normally region-specific, as well as the possibility of finding legendary Pokémon for the first time. However, the event ended up being a disaster as the game kept crashing, or wouldn’t open at all, for everyone who attended. Niantic, the game’s developer, even had their CEO come out to address the problems and was booed by the crowd. Niantic has since tried to rectify all this in numerous ways. For one thing, everyone who attended the event received a full refund for their tickets, as well as receiving $100 worth of PokéCoins and the legendary Lugia. Then, Niantic put in place a number of rewards, such as increased XP and more frequent Pokémon spawns, and even extended the period that these rewards are available by three days. But for some attendees of the event, none of this was enough.

Polygon reports that a number of people who attended Pokémon GO Fest Chicago are suing Niantic for not fulfilling their promises. Essentially, attendees were promised the chance to find and catch rare, some region-specific, Pokémon, but ultimately they were not able to do so. Instead, they had to wait in line for several hours only for the game to not even work, neither in line nor at the venue. Although these attendees received refunds for their tickets to the events, they are suing to also have their travel expenses reimbursed. Many people who attended the event came from out of state or even from different countries. That’s a lot of money to spend on plane tickets and hotel rooms for something that ended up not working. Thomas Zimmerman, the Chicago-based attorney who is representing about 30 attendees in this lawsuit, stated, “The issue is, what was promised, what was the incentive that people relied on and the representations that people relied on to buy a ticket and make travel plans and fly to Chicago to participate in this festival, would they have done that had they known that that was not going to be lived up to and they weren’t going to get the experience that was represented?” Polygon reached out to Niantic, who responded thusly: “Niantic does not comment on pending legal matters.”

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