The first ever Pokemon Go Fest – a live event for the augmented-reality monster catching game – turned out to be a bit of a mess. A mix of long queues and intermittent coverage to the game left many paid attendees disgruntled.
Game Informer’s Andrew Reiner – who was at the event in Chicago’s Grant Park – couldn’t keep the game “open for more than 15 seconds at a time” without it crashing, while others also had the issue. This is in addition to queues that stretched well outside the park.
Fans were so displeased, that when Niantic’s CEO John Hanke took to stage, he was booed. You can watch the video here (playback on other sites has been disabled by the developer). The crowd also started chanting “We can’t play!”
“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 (via Kotaku). “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.”
The event was so disastrous, Niantic offered to refund the ticket price for all attendees. Some further bonuses were also given, by way of an apology.
The event wasn’t a total failure however. By accomplishing set goals during the event, attendees unlocked the ability for players around the world to catch Lugia. The monster is briefly appearing in raid battles worldwide.