Augmented reality is the way of the future, at least that is what the developers at Niantic believe. Niantic is, of course, the company behind the globally successful ‘Pokemon’ branded application, ‘Pokemon Go’. ‘Pokemon Go’ was released in 2016 to massive success. In fact, it was too successful. Chronic server issues, glitches, and hackers made the game almost unbearable during the early months of its launch. Now, over a year later, ‘Pokemon Go’ is still plagued with issues but now they have a PR disaster on their hands as well: ‘Pokemon Go Fest’.
The team at Niantic wanted to reinvigorate their fanbase by bringing ‘Pokemon Go’ to the public with a massive festival in Chicago. The event promised trainers the ability to catch rare Pokemon, earn medals from special gyms, as well as engage in an event that was surely to leave its mark in the annals of gaming history. The event was held at Grant Park in Chicago, IL and for weeks leading up fans were getting more and more excited. The actual event would end up in disaster, however, as 20,000 people had to endure long lines, a glitching game, and a poorly planned out event that seemed to satisfy nobody.
While Niantic has been apologizing and offering up refunds and in-game rewards to placate their unhappy customers, it seems like this own’t be enough. Niantic will now have to deal with a class action lawsuit that claims the festival was essentially a bait and switch. Some attendees had traveled from around the world to take park in what should have been a special event. With Niantic in augmented reality shambles the company is going to have to take a long look at their upcoming events.
Unfortunately, Niantic’s struggles in Chicago mean that future ‘Pokemon Go’ events have been canceled. This decision is going to hit Europe the hardest as events in both Prague and Copenhagen will be indefinitely delayed. Events in Stockholm and Amsterdam were also put off with a nebulous re-scheduled date of “Later this Fall.” Niantic is going to have to work hard in order to fix the problems that went down in Chicago and there are many people who don’t believe that it will happen.
Still, ‘Pokemon Go’ continues to sit atop the charts as one of the most downloaded mobile applications of all time. If Niantic can bring about change within their company there might be longevity still.