ViridianForest 7-28-17 (Pokemon GO Fest)

ViridianForest 7-28-17 (Pokemon GO Fest)

Pokemon GO Fest lawsuit seeks travel expense refunds; no one is surprised

by Rebekah Valentine

July 28, 2017

Niantic’s utter failure of a Pokemon celebration has inspired a predictable lawsuit for transport fees due to Consumer Fraud. Do they have a case?

We all knew it was coming. Pokemon GO Fest, with its 20,000+ dissatisfied attendees who were unable to play the game at all through no fault of their own had to have at least one person sue Niantic. This is despite their efforts to remedy the situation by extending events and giving out free legendary Pokemon to attendees because really, that’s not what this was about. It was about the fact that Niantic lead consumers to make purchases based on certain promises, and those promises were not delivered upon. Hence a lawsuit reported on in the Chicago Sun Times, accusing Niantic of violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.

The suit is over “unspecified damages,” presumably for travel expenses to and from Pokemon GO Fest, and expresses the intent of preventing Niantic from messing up future events the way they did Pokemon GO Fest. And to be fair, I’m all on board for that, since the situation in Grant Park would have been entirely preventable with some forethought. For large events such as Pokemon GO Fest where cell phones will need to be used avidly, organizers generally partner with wireless providers for pop-up cell towers to boost signal within an area. But such was not the case at the festival, resulting in no one being able to play the game at all for the duration of the event.

I’m not one to rub salt in the wound, but I need Niantic to stop messing this kind of stuff up, like, yesterday. They have the money and backing of The Pokemon Company behind them to ensure these events go well. And as someone who loves both Pokemon in general and Pokemon GO on the whole, it’s exasperating to watch them fail over and over to come up with anything compelling to do with this game. Poor planning was Niantic’s Achilles’ Heel on launch, and it came back to get them again during the one-year anniversary.

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