Pokémon Go Fest was a huge misstep, to say the least. Developer Niantic held the Chicago-based festival in late July and quickly found itself unprepared for the realities of 20,000 people all playing Pokémon Go in one small area. As way of compensation, Niantic refunded everyone’s tickets and gave away $100 in virtual currency for the mobile game, hoping that was enough. Attendees who flew in from out of town, however, have a larger bone to pick with Niantic than just the price of entry.
Chicago-based attorney Thomas Zimmerman is representing the class-action lawsuit, first brought by John Norton, a Californian who flew out to the event. According to Zimmerman, another 30-50 people have joined the suit since.
The event was intended to be a mass gathering of Pokémon Go fans acting with the singular goal of cooperating and working together to unleash legendary Pokémon through aggregate captures. That means that, the more Pokémon attendees caught, the more an invisible bar filled up to releasing a Legendary Pokémon. Norton alleges that he went to the festival for this purpose, to catch Pokémon alongside other Pokémaniacs, but that the game simply failed to work. Zimmerman states that this goes against what Niantic promised for the event.
Zimmerman is asking Niantic to pay for the travel expenses of his clients who ventured from much further out than Chicago to attend Pokémon Go Fest. He is quick to point out that he is not seeking more than just those travel expenses, though he believes Niantic did break their promises for what the event would be.
The financial and public relations hit Niantic has taken as a result of the Pokémon Go Fest just keeps getting worse. It is not hard to imagine how someone could be upset if they traveled to this event only to be told their only compensation is a refund and virtual currency.