Pokémon Go Fest Returns To Chicago This July
Last summer, Pokémon Go Fest debuted to the tune of a $1,575,000 lawsuit filled by trainers who couldn't catch any Pokémon at the Chicago-based event. Most people couldn't log into the game for more than 15 seconds before it would crash, thanks to the cellular networks being overloaded. Niantic may be wading into troubled waters by bringing the Fest back to Chicago, but it appears the developer has a better idea of how to make the event work in this area. We'll find out what happens when the event returns on July 14 and 15.
The Fest is leaving the somewhat small space of Grant Park for Lincoln Park, which offers a 1.8-mile walking path. Niantic is apparently going to put this tree-covered area to good use with "physical installations and excluisve activities for trainers of all ages." These activities will occur both in and out of the game. One of the in-game discoveries is the appearance of rare Pokémon spawning in the area. Last year, the rarest critter was Unown. The 1.8-mile space is a significant upgrade over last year, but isn't the only place the game can be played. People who purchase a $20 ticket to the event can also catch Pokémon in the surrounding region of Chicago. Tickets go on sale on May 11.
Although few people were able to catch anything at last year's event, Niantic scrambled and expanded the size of it to a two-mile radius across Chicago. As players dispersed to different areas, the networks were freed up, and some stability was finally achieved.
This isn't the only event Niantic is holding this year – it's just one leg of a larger Pokémon Go Summer Tour, which kicks off in Germany on June 30 and concludes in Japan on an unspecified date. The Germany event is held in Westfalenpark, and is free to all trainers who wish to play.
Even if you don't attend any of these events, Pokémon Go players will have their own quests and rewards offered at the same times. Details for these opportunities are unknown at this time.
I was one of the 20,000-plus people in attendance at Pokémon Go Fest last year, and heard the frustrated chants of "fix the game" and "I can't log in." I understand Niantic wanting to make good on the opportunity for local players, but there's a chance Chicago may be kryptonite for this game. Yes, it does appear Niantic has safety nets in place this time around, but we just won't know how the game will perform until we get there and see how many people attend.