Some Pokemon Go Fest Attendees Are Filing A Lawsuit Against Niantic

A wild lawsuit appears.


A number of Pokemon Go Fest attendees are filing a lawsuit against Niantic, developer of the popular mobile game and organiser of the official fan event. They are seeking reimbursement for travel expenses, after making the trip to find they were unable to play there due to technical issues.

Polygon reports that Chicago-based attorney Thomas Zimmerman was contacted by Jonathan Norton and "20 or 30" other people about the issues they encountered at Pokemon Go Fest.

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"[Norton] paid to fly out [to Chicago] for the festival, and had to wait for several hours in line, just like most everybody else in order to get in," Zimmerman said. However, when he--and other attendees--arrived, they were unable to play the game and thus unable to capture the rare Pokemon available there."

The opportunity to catch rare Pokemon was one of the things Niantic marketed as a reason to attend Pokemon Go Fest. Many people spent money on making the trip with hopes of catching the rarer creatures and were not able to do so, or to have the overall experience Niantic promised.

"Niantic is not offering to refund people's travel expenses for coming to Chicago," Zimmerman added. "Most of the people came from out of state, many people from other countries--I talked to someone who flew in from Japan."

Zimmerman notes that the claimants are not specifically asking for relief for being unable to get the rare Pokemon. This is something Niantic has addressed already with in-game bonuses and a refund on ticket costs.

"The issue is, what was promised, what was the incentive that people relied on and the representations that people relied on to buy a ticket and make travel plans and fly to Chicago to participate in this festival, would they have done that had they known that that was not going to be lived up to and they weren't going to get the experience that was represented?” Zimmerman asked.

When asked for a statement, Niantic told Polygon that it "does not comment on pending legal matters."

In light of the issues, Niantic did extend the amount of time the rare Pokemon could be caught for and widened the area they were available in. Two Legendaries were ultimately unlocked--check out our guide on how to catch Lugia and Articuno. It also provided an explanation for why people weren't able to play Pokemon Go at the event.

"Technical issues with our game software caused client crashes and interfered with gameplay for some users," CEO John Hanke said. "A more protracted problem was caused by oversaturation of the mobile data networks of some network providers. This caused many attendees to be unable to access Pokémon Go or other Internet services. Network congestion also led to a login issue which affected some users able to access the Internet."

You can watch the most awkward moments from Pokemon Go Fest here.

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