It’s no secret that Pokémon Go‘s one-year anniversary event, the Chicago-based Pokémon Go Fest, was a trainwreck. Attendees filed lawsuits after experiencing countless frustrations, not least of which was the inability to access the game. Now, Niantic has finally settled a class-action lawsuit over the event, agreeing to pay $1.575 million in reimbursements.
According to TechCrunch, the case submitted by Pokémon Go player Jonathan Norton after last year’s ticketed event in Chicago’s Grant Park has forced the game’s developer to provide refunds to all qualified attendees. The repayments will account for all travel, hotel costs, parking fees, mileage, and more. Trainers who feel they are owed a refund will have a chance to fill out a form on an official site from Niantic that will launch on May 25th. All remaining proceeds from the settlement will be donated to the non-profit charity Chicago Run and the Illinois Bar Foundation.
Over 20,000 players attended the special event at the small park in Chicago to experience the first Legendary raid battles and catch region-exclusive Pokémon. In addition to the long wait times to enter the event, Niantic hadn’t adequately accounted for the large number of people using different cellular services in a small location, leaving many unable to access the game. Norton’s complaint (PDF link), filed in Cook County, Illinois, spotlights these issues and accuses Niantic of false advertising.
Due to the delayed entry into the Fest, lack of connectivity to cell towers, technical problems with Defendant’s game software, and the malfunction of Defendant’s game server(s), attendees at the Fest were unable to play the game as Defendant’s advertising had led them to anticipate.
After the event’s demise, the developer swiftly promised to reimburse attendees the $20 ticket cost, as well as provide $100 worth of in-game coins and a free Legendary Pokémon, Lugia, added to their account. However, as tickets were limited and sold out within a few hours of going on sale, many trainers reportedly purchased passes for upwards of $400 from scalpers online. In turn, the small monetary apology by Niantic wasn’t going to account for the additional costs many players had spent.
Since the Chicago fiasco, the developer has changed its format for public events. Beginning in January 2018, Niantic introduced a monthly event called Community Day, which allows trainers across the globe to get together at their local parks to catch rare Pokémon. With this model, Niantic has allowed all players to experience a large-scale community event for free and locally. The next Community Day, set for April 15th, will offer the Electric-type Pokémon Mareep, as well as lures that last three hours and eggs that hatch at a quarter of the distance they usually require.
Pokémon Go is available for iOS and Android.
Source: Tech Crunch