Despite the absolute mess that was Pokemon Go Fest 2017, Niantic is still holding firm to the idea of community events and plans to continue organizing them around the world throughout 2018. Personally, I think this is the right move to make – the social potential of the game could be something truly legendary- but the way I see it, great ideas aren’t much without great execution. Based upon Niantic’s track record so far, I’m really on the fence mentally as to whether or not they have what it takes to organize a solid community event.
Here are a few problems encountered by the company so far and what they did to remedy the situation:
1. Pokemon Go Launch
The game’s launch itself was full of problems. From players being unable to download the game, to game crashes and server instability, the first week of the game’s release was riddled with issues. After about a week, things seemed to stabilize…
2. Pokemon Go Fest 2017
Here’s a different article on their very first event in case you need more examples of how bad it went. Non-stop network issues, game crashes, and no real solutions from Niantic led to the company having to give out full refunds. Even worse, they were slammed with a class action lawsuit which they ended up settling for $1.6 million.
3. Premier Ball Bug
This bug resulted in raid boss Pokemon always breaking out of the last premier balls granted to a player of that raid. Niantic’s solution to this, instead of fixing the bug, was to give players an extra premier ball. Considering that this bug coincided with the appearance of rare limited-time Pokemon, can this be considered sufficient compensation?
Pokemon Go Fest 2018 is planned to take place on July 14th and 15th in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. With all of the problems that Niantic has had to deal with, it seems they learned some lessons and have begun to implement measures to ensure a better experience for future events. In Japan, they worked worked more closely with telecom companies to discuss the network requirements they would need to meet in order to smoothly run the Pikachu Outbreak Event.
Aside from technical issues, Niantic is also looking at ways of organizing events such that they can reduce network strain and create a more optimal game environment. This year, one of the ways in which they are doing this is limiting player participation in the event to only one day. Attendees need to pick either July 14th OR July 15th and will be prevented from participating twice. They’ll also be spreading players out across a wider distance in an attempt to minimize extreme data consumption in particular spots.
While spacing out players in a more efficient way is sound logic, I don’t think I agree with the direction they’re taking with limiting players to attending only one day. Many players are flying in considerable distances just for this one event. It seems like a punch to the gut telling them: “We’re happy you flew 500 miles to get here, but sorry, you can only participate one day.”
Given the numerous issues Niantic has faced since the release of Pokemon Go and their questionable ways of dealing with them, it’s hard to say whether or not Pokemon Go Fest 2018 will run smoothly. I’m a big believer in what Pokemon Go could be, and as such, I’m really hoping they’re able to get their act together and make this community event the fun-filled experience it should be.
Tickets will be available for sale May 11th at 9 AM PT on the Pokemon Go Fest site for $20 a person.
Featured Image Source: Nintendo Everything