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How to Improve Pokemon Go Fest August 29, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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Earlier this summer, Niantic celebrated the one year anniversary of the release of Pokémon Go. They invited players from all over the world to join them in Chicago, IL for Pokémon Go Fest, a one-day event where trainers could get together in real life to complete exclusive challenges for epic prizes.

It may sound great on paper but by all intents and purposes, the event was a failure.  Players couldn’t reliably connect to cellular or WiFi sources at the event, rendering the game unplayable for most of them.  In the end, refunds were issued to everyone who went, and most players ended up having fun creating social connections outside of the official events.

Why did the event fall apart?  Poor planning.  In the US, its become inevitable that when you host a major convention anywhere, the cell service in that area is going to fail.  One would assume with the massive profits the cell phone companies are making all of them could provide all of their customers a reliable service that works consistently, but they can’t.  Creating a major event that entirely relies on cellular service working is a recipe for disaster.  They also weren’t equipped to handle the massive influx of people who signed up, even though they knew in advance how many people were going.  Players with tickets to the event still waited two to three hours just to get into the park.  This caused headaches for attendees who missed out on early events due to the fact ticket lines were moving so slowly.  It wasn’t a great first impression for paying ticket holders.  Surely, there had to be a better way.

Here’s a better solution for the next time Niantic decides to do a Pokémon Go Fest.  The planet is a big place and seven billion people live on it, why don’t they host multiple events across the world?  That way, players all over the planet could have the opportunity to participate regardless of their location or financial status.  The concept of hosting a major event to celebrate fandom is hardly new, that’s what events like ComicCon and PAX are for, and there’s always room for more events like it.

I know it’s expensive to run designated events all over the planet but there are solutions to that problem. The host could choose to build official facilities with decorations at each location, but there’s no need to if they don’t want to.  Perhaps local businesses in each designated play location could choose to sponsor the event and pay for decorations.  This would boost their profile, and companies like Sprint and Starbucks were already on board to sponsor Pokémon Go.  From what I heard, Sprint ended up getting a lot of positive publicity from sponsoring the Pokémon Go Fest, as they were one of the only cellular providers that actually functioned during the event.

By spreading out the event worldwide, it solves nearly all of the problems Pokémon Go Fest suffered from. With fewer trainers in a single place, the cellular networks would be less likely to buckle under the strain of people trying to use it at the same time.  It would also mean shorter lines and briefer wait times for things like ticket redemption while still allowing local trainers to communicate in real life.  All in all, it’s a win win.

So would this have been a better option than the Pokémon Go Fest we got?  Post a comment below with your thoughts about how you would improve the event for next time!

Pokémon Go is out now for Android and iOS devices.