Niantic CEO Faces Hundreds of Angry Fans at Pokemon Go Fest

John Hanke talks to one of many perturbed fans

Within the first hour of the 1 year anniversary event, Pokemon Go Fest began to crumble and fall apart. Fans everywhere were met with frustration and disappointment as servers crashed and phones showed a continuum of log in screens. It was as if Team Rocket  had once more succeeded in taking over the radio waves and were deliberately keeping the hordes of trainers from catching any pokemon.

John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, and other Niantic employees who went on stage to speak were met with heckling, chants of “Fix your game” and one hostess even had a water bottle thrown at her while they were trying to engage the enraged fans about the issues.

Despite being in front of thousands of people, a literal nightmare for most people, he bravely attempted to console fans, asking for patience and understanding. He was not met with either of those things, as chants of “fix the game” reverberated throughout Grant Park, Illinois.

Hanke summed up the issue to be due to cellular tower overloads, as well as several technical issues that Niantic itself was having with the sheer load of people trying to connect to the servers all at once.

With promises of ticket refunds and in game currency, Hanke extended the rare pokemon spawn within a 2 mile radius of Grant Park until Monday, 24 July, and gave players rights to re-enter the fest as they please.

A lot of these events come as no surprise to many who were on the outside hearing about the disaster. The ordeal was not unlike trying to catch an electrode before it uses self-destruct and faints your favorite pokemon - frustrating, but not unforeseeable. Fans were aware of last year’s issues with tracking, server clogs and other server issues when the game released and many compared the two events with the similarity of server issues and failed catches due to errors and glitches, yet they still threw a tantrum when they weren’t able to play.

This is understandable as many spent hundreds of dollars to be at the event, but it just goes to show the mentality of the crowd as being part of the issue, and not part of the solution. While some were patient and willing to work with niantic, the majority were not, and several large groups made their way out of the park.

Despite all the issues however, the legendary pokemon are still being released and players are still using the app to catch ‘em all.

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A sci-fi and video game enthusiast, Kurtiss has been writing and playing since before his first evolution. While he will probably end up with cataracts and arthritis, he does it for you, his readers.
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