In one of the ultimate cases of dissatisfied customers, comes word from Polygon that some Pokémon Go Fest attendees are filing suits against Niantic. Despite Niantic doing their very best to make it up to attendees with in-game gold and ticket refunds, some attendees are looking for Niantic to cover their travel expenses too.
If you haven’t already heard, the Pokémon Go Fest went to hell in a handbasket faster than anyone thought possible. Once the event started, no one could play the game, from the servers producing error after error, to some being completely shut down, the Legendary Pokémon everyone was there for were nowhere to be seen.
“We can’t play” was chanted to the stage several times in various forms, mostly to the presenters that couldn’t do much about it. All in all, everyone there was very upset. When nothing seemed to work, Niantic decided to give everyone there $100 worth of in-game gold and refunded tickets.
After things had calmed down a bit, it seems Niantic was able to sort out the problems. According to CEO of Niantic John Hanke, the technical issues came from an “oversaturation of mobile data networks of some network providers” and “network congestion.” Blaming the toss up on ISPs seems a little much, as those folks have to cover entire countries worth of people everyday. Though perhaps it works differently than my vague understanding of the communication between ISPs and game servers. Please comment below if you think Niantic’s excuse seems reasonable or not.
Nonetheless, there seem to be quite a few people who remain severely unimpressed with Niantic’s antics. According to Chicago-based attorney Thomas Zimmerman, who spoke to Polygon, “20 or 30” dissatisfied attendees contacted him about the Pokémon Go Fest. Some of these folks, Zimmerman states, had to fly out to Chicago for the event only to find they couldn’t play game, much less catch the Pokémon they were promised would be there. As Zimmerman points out, Niantic did market these Pokémon as a reason to attend the event and some people not only came from out of state, but at least one person came all the way from Japan.
People want their travel expenses refunded, but Zimmerman did not state explicitly whether or not these upset attendees actually have a case here. Well, one because he legally can’t, and two, perhaps there isn’t a case at all. It’s not false advertising if the Pokémon were technically there, it was the servers and networks that didn’t allow people to catch them. Though with the right lawyer, anything can be a case.
Nonetheless, in light of these issues, Niantic is extending the amount of time available and widening the area where these rare Pokémon can be found. Both Legendaries Lugia and Articuno have been unlocked as well. Niantic themselves, however, have decided not to comment on these lawsuits.
Is it the fault of Niantic? Should they pay for attendees’ travel expenses? Lend your thoughts in the comments below!