The much anticipated Pokemon Go Fest came and went yesterday, but things didn't go quite as planned for Pokemon Go. While the event was supposed to be a celebration of the Pokemon Go community, it turned into a giant disaster filled with disgruntled fans and embarrassing moments for Niantic.
However, things weren't all bad for Pokemon Go fans. After all, players still ended up with new Legendary Pokemon, and a bunch of temporary bonuses for the rest of the weekend.
Let's breakdown some of the highlights and lowlights for the event and what it means for the future of Pokemon Go:
We probably should cover the positives of yesterday, since much of the coverage for Pokemon Go Fest focused on the day's many problems.
For the majority of Pokemon Go players, yesterday was a pretty good day. Pokemon Go released TWO Legendary Pokemon, and unlocked them for all players to battle without the need of selective Legendary Raid Passes or a 48 hour wait. These new Legendary Raids are popping up EVERYWHERE, so most players with access to a gym should get the chance to face one of these Pokemon sometime this weekend.
Even those who suffered through Pokemon Go Fest came away with quite a haul. Players got $100 in PokeCoins, a full refund on their tickets, AND a free Lugia...plus the opportunity to catch plenty other Legendary Pokemon without worrying about its low catch rate.prevnext
While fans should feel pretty pleased with the results of Pokemon Go Fest, that doesn't mean that the event was a success. Honestly, Pokemon Go Fest was one of the biggest disasters that the Pokemon franchise has ever witnessed. Long lines, no cell phone coverage, and a livestream that kept flashing clips of disgruntled fans turned Pokemon Go Fest from a celebration into a giant embarrassment.
Pokemon Go has a dedicated fanbase of millions of users, but even more people look at the game as a failure because of its inability to retain its userbase. Every time Pokemon Go has had an opportunity to step up into the spotlight, it has faltered and exposed its weaknesses without fail. It's not a surprise that people were comparing Pokemon Go Fest to Fyre Festival yesterday (although many admitted that it wasn't THAT bad.)
The sad thing is that, even after a full year of adapting to the Pokemon franchise, Niantic still seems like its unprepared for Pokemon Go. Many of the worst issues surrounding Pokemon Go Fest were totally avoidable. The long lines could have been avoided with more staff or a more efficient registration process. The network issues could have been avoided by picking out a larger venue, or bringing in temporary cell phone towers (something that Pokemon Go Fest sponsor Sprint did, allegedly on its own initiative, which resulted in a MUCH better experience for Sprint users.) The livestream, which just broadcasted Pokemon Go Fest's issues to the world, could have been avoided by...NOT HAVING A TEN HOUR LIVESTREAM.
So much of yesterday feels like it could have been avoided, and it's frustrating since we know that Niantic has success with live events.
The really sad thing is that Pokemon Go actually had a very successful live event yesterday. The game's Chester event was reportedly a major success, even though there were still some minor network issues.prevnext
There's three worrying things that came out of Pokemon Go Fest. The first were widespread reports that Pokemon Go Fest attendees were throwing garbage at event staff. At least one of these incidents were captured on livestream, although the host either didn't notice or didn't react. That sort of behavior is unacceptable, regardless of how bad the event was.
The second is the impact that Pokemon Go Fest will have on future live events. While the plan was for Pokemon Go to hold other live events around the world, another failure like this could kill interest in the game for even more fans. If Pokemon Go insists on holding events in places like malls or marginally small park (and yes, squeezing 12,000+ people into a park with less than a square mile of space is small,) they will continue to have problems and might turn fans off on the idea of events entirely. Let's be realistic, how many people are going to come to Pokemon Go Fest next year after seeing last year's debacle?
The Pokemon Company is also incredibly protective of its IP and is usually super conservative when it comes to the games. While Pokemon Go was great publicity for the Pokemon franchise last summer, we can't help but wonder whether the franchise is now getting negatively impacted by Pokemon Go's constant bad press. People are always going to buy the Pokemon games, but this could change how the Pokemon Company views third party developers that they don't typically work with.prevnext
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