Disastrous 'Pokémon Go' Fest ends with anger and refunds

The first-ever Pokémon Go Fest wasn't all sunshine, rainbows, and catching Pokémon.

Attendees at the Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago on Saturday were met with a handful of problems upon arriving at the game's first-ever official event, which was meant to be a celebration of the game's first year and an opportunity for fans and players to meet each other and work together to earn unique in-game rewards.

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Instead, players waited in lines that stretched for blocks to enter Grant Park. Some attendees on Twitter said they waited for two hours just to get in.

Once inside, players experienced technical difficulties with the game — not an ideal situation when the whole point of the festival is to play the game. The large, concentrated group of players all trying to connect to the game's servers at the same time appears to have overwhelmed the game and local cell towers.

When Niantic CEO John Hanke came out on stage to address the crowd, he was met with boos and people chanting "We can't play."

People were understandably upset considering tickets cost $20 (or up to $100 if bought through a scalper) and many attendees traveled from out-of-state specifically for Pokémon Go Fest.

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People playing Pokemon Go
Nintendo Co.'s Pokemon Go is displayed on a smartphone in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Pokemon Go debuted last week on iPhones and Android devices in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, letting players track down virtual characters in real locations using their smartphones. Nintendo is an investor in Niantic Inc., the games developer. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 11: Monument Square, Portland, was a hotspot of activity for the Pokemon Go 'augmented reality' game Monday evening. From left, Shellbe Flynn, Jordan Regios (mostly hidden) and Elizabeth Hook. (Photo by Michele McDonald/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 11: Mary Baker, 18, plays the mobile game Pokemon Go as she walks through the Public Garden in Boston, Mass., July 11, 2016. (Photo by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 11: Kaelyn Kespert, 10, of Scarborough, plays Pokemon Go at Deering Oaks Park. (Photo by Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 11: Medical student Jag Chilana plays Pokemon Go on his smartphone at Union Square, July 11, 2016 in New York City. The success of Nintendo's new smartphone game, Pokemon Go, has sent shares of Nintendo soaring. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
David Melendez (C) uses three phones as he plays the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo in New York City, U.S. July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Theodore Belizaire plays the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo in Times Square, New York City, U.S. July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Jerimie Nason (C) plays the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo as people pass him on the street outside Grand Central Terminal in New York City, U.S. July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
A virtual map of Bryant Park is displayed on the screen as a man plays the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo in New York City, U.S. July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Theodore Belizaire plays the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo in Times Square, New York City, U.S. July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
The augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo is shown on a smartphone screen in this photo illustration taken in Palm Springs, California U.S. July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich/Illustration
Leo Mesquita (R) and Jean Suplicy (2nd R) play the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo as they walk away from the Chrysler Building in New York City, U.S. July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
Theodore Belizaire pumps his fist after catching a Pokemon in the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo in Times Square, New York City, U.S. July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
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Part-way through the day, Niantic extended the geographical range of the festival's in-game activities outside the park, allowing players to spread out and solve some of the issues brought on by heavy congestion. Niantic seemed to solve most of the connectivity issues, but attendees were still upset about the whole situation.

To make up for all the problems players experienced, Niantic offered up refunds for tickets, gave each attendee $100 worth of Pokémon Go credits, and gave every attendee the legendary Pokémon Lugia, which made its first appearance at the festival.

Niantic has more events planned this year in Europe and Japan — hopefully they will be a little more prepared.

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