Promotional art for Pokemon Go Fest

Refunds And Free Gifts Offered After Disastrous ‘Pokemon GO’ Fest

There’s no need to sugarcoat it: the first ever Pokemon GO Fest was an unmitigated disaster.

Developer Niantic’s take on the ever-popular Pokemon franchise has taken the world by storm over the last year, and to celebrate the game’s one-year anniversary, the development team decided to host a real-world event, aptly dubbed Pokemon GO Fest. Taking place in Chicago’s Grant Park this past Saturday, the one-day event promised rare monsters, exclusive raids and more in-game rewards for attendees. As you might imagine, tickets were in high demand and sold out within a half an hour of going on sale.

Unfortunately, the event didn’t exactly pan out as intended. Due to a high number of attendees, many players were unable to log-in to the game, and in turn, were locked out of being able to partake in the planned events for the day. The frustration reached a boiling point when Niantic CEO John Hanke took center stage and was treated to a tirade of boos and jeers from disgruntled attendees.

In response to the backlash from fans and attendees, Niantic issued the following statement on their website:

“Today at Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, technical issues created problems for a large number of players attending the event. From everyone at Niantic, we apologize to all of the Trainers who came out to Pokémon GO Fest today. Although we were able to solve many of the technical issues, we were not able to offer every attendee a great experience.”

Furthermore, the development team has begun to roll out rewards and reimbursements for those who paid to attend the event:

  • All registered attendees will soon receive an email with instructions on how to receive a full refund for the cost of their ticket. These instructions will be sent to the email addresses associated with your Pokémon GO account.
  • All registered attendees will receive $100 in PokéCoins in their Pokémon GO account.
  • Special Pokémon, Eggs, and check-in PokéStops appearing during Pokémon GO Fest have had their range increased to a two-mile radius surrounding Grant Park through Monday morning, July 24. These Pokémon and Eggs will only be visible to Pokémon GO Fest attendees who validated the QR code they received when they entered Pokémon GO Fest. Attendees who were unable to validate their QR code during the event can do so through the special PokéStops through Monday morning.
  • All registered attendees will have the Legendary Pokémon, Lugia, added to their account.

For those who didn’t attend the event, you’ll still be able to get your hands on the newly-introduced legendary Pokemon. Lugia, one of the mascots of the second-generation of games, is now available for all players, assuming you’re able to catch it in one of the new Raid events. Similarly, as a result of Team Mystic capturing the most Pokemon during yesterday’s Fest, Articuno was also made available. Rest assured, Moltres and Zapdos will be added in the coming days.

Niantic has also implemented a few rewards for all players, which are set to last until Monday, July 24, at 5:00 PM PDT:

  • Double Stardust
  • Double Candy
  • Double XP
  • Increased Pokémon encounters
  • Reduced hatching distance
  • Reduced buddy distance

While there’s no official word on whether or not Mewtwo (the legendary psychic Pokemon from the original trio of games) will make an appearance, it’s worth noting that it made a brief cameo in the new trailer promoting Legendary Pokemon.

[Featured image by Niantic Inc.]