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Network & server issues plague first Pokémon GO Fest, Niantic to issue refunds & in-game credit

Niantic heavily touted this weekend’s Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, the first-ever event of its kind. Despite the company’s promises, however, the event didn’t live up to expectations. Server and network issues plagued Pokémon GO Fest from the start, and Niantic is now saying it will offer refunds to those who attended…

As detailed in a report from TechCrunch, Pokémon GO Fest attracted some 20,000 attendees to Chicago’s Grant Park. While the weather was expected to be the primary concern, focus quickly shifted to the logistical problems.

The biggest issue was that the game simply didn’t function for a few reasons. For one, all major cell networks immediately stopped functioning once 20,000 people filled into such a small area. Without a cell network, Pokémon GO isn’t functional.

For those who could get online, however, the game still wasn’t functional due to server issues on Niantic’s side. TechCrunch says that tapping on a monster to catch it resulted in an error screen, which was one of the biggest reasons people flocked to the event. Niantic had announced earlier this week that the first Legendary Pokémon would be unlocked today in Chicago at Pokémon GO Fest. Many traveled far in hopes of completing their collection with rarities such as Heracross and Unown.

Niantic is taking a few steps to try to make everything right. The company announced in Chicago that it will be refunding all ticket purchases, while also offering registered attendees $100 in Poké Coins. Those who qualify will receive emails with more details on how to redeem.

Furthermore, Niantic has increased the radius to 2 miles in Chicago. This means the event can spread well outside of Grant Park, something the company hopes will lessen the load on network servers as well as its own.

Because of the issues, attendees routinely chanted “We can’t play!” on the event’s live stream – something that will certainly take a blow to Niantic’s reputation.

Were you in attendance today for Pokémon GO Fest in Grant Park? If so, are you happy with Niantic’s response to the issues? Tell us your stories down below in the comments.

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Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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