— Christopher Green (@KarstCSG) July 22, 2017
Despite heavy storms which blasted the Chicagoland area the night before the first ever Pokemon Go Fest, thousands upon thousands of enthusiastic trainers showed up to Grant Park to catch ’em all. Unfortunately for them, the soggy ground beneath them was the least of their worries. Long lines delayed entry for hours, and then, once a good amount of trainers were finally inside and booting up the app, the servers weren’t working.
So thousands of grumpy trainers who just wanted to acquire promised rare Pokemon, nab some loot and in general, have a good time were dealing with major frustrations beyond their control. The non-augmented reality was that thousands of people were put shoulder to shoulder in a small space and no one could get anything to work. It was the worst possible outcome for the event.
Some people traveled thousands of miles to Chicago just to take part, while others spent hundreds of dollars over the asking price of tickets to get in the door. This led to a refund of the $20 tickets, and Niantic, the developers of the game, gave out $100 in game credit to everyone in attendance.
Despite the well-meaning handouts, the crowd turned on the various presenters who were just trying to roll with the punches and put on a great time in lieu of the technical difficulties. It wasn’t a good look.