By now you probably all know the disaster that was the Pokemon GO (Free) Fest in Chicago, with our very own Eli posting a minute by minute of the mobile equivalent of the Hindenburg disaster. After giving refunds and trying to make up for the disaster, Niantic posted a lengthy apology that further details how the Chicago Fest became a disaster for the ages. The post first takes responsibility for some of the client crashes that interfered with people’s ability to log in and play the game and states how those issues were fixed with a server configuration change. However, the biggest problem (the post continues) was the oversaturation of the mobile data networks of some network providers, which resulted in many attendees being unable to log into the game.
Pokemon Go Fest Chicago turned out to be a pretty huge bummer, with Niantic offering refunds, free IAP, and pokemon: https://t.co/351gEBlmHo
— TouchArcade (@toucharcade) July 23, 2017
Interestingly, Niantic says that it provided detailed estimated on attendance and required data throughput per user to its event partner, who then worked with the major carriers so they could in turn ensure there would be adequate carrier. Some of the carriers deployed mobile cellular towers to extend their capacity while others felt that the pre-existing infrastructure would handle it fine.
While the post stops short of blaming any provider directly, there are definitely some hints that Niantic wasn’t exactly happy with the performance of the carriers. The post ends on a positive note, talking about the great response they got once they released the Legendary Pokemon. Niantic states that it has learned from the Chicago Fest incident and will make sure to improve future events. I suppose it remains to be seen.