It seemed unlikely that Niantic’s first major Pokémon GO event would go off without a hitch, and so far, it appears to be drowning in them.
Seemingly endless lines and connectivity issues are currently plaguing the event and the game. Called away by an unavoidable family vacation, I’m not actually at GO Fest which is taking place in my home city, but I bequeathed my hastily-purchased pass to my friend, Bret Fortuna, who is providing me with live updates from the ground. Our own Dave Thier is also there, and will be reporting in with his own account shortly.
The friend I’ve sent to attend was using a regular pass I purchased, not a press pass, and as such he had to wait over three hours in line just to get into Grant Park, and just got in at 1 PM local time, well past the point when the event was supposed to have started inside. Organization for getting people with scannable wristbands inside does not seem to be remotely efficient, despite the fact that there are concerts all over this area normally without similar issues.
But it’s not just the waiting, the game itself is under siege by so many players trying to play at once. All day so far, the game has been plagued with connectivity issues, which reminds me of exactly a year ago when an unofficial Pokémon GO event in Chicago’s Millennium Park I was at was shut down for server issues and the technical problems forced everyone to head home.
Niantic warned players not to livestream their time at GO Fest in order to avoid these kinds of issues, but apparently that wasn’t enough, and the game is overloading the local Verzion/Sprint/AT&T networks.
These issues are starting to turn the event ugly. This happened before my friend was inside, but John Hanke took to the stage to address connectivity issues was reportedly loudly booed with players shouting “We can’t play!” on repeat. And there are plenty of folks to taking to social media to express their displeasure that they still are waiting outside and not even able to get into the malfunctioning event.
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