Cautionary Tale: Pokémon Fest Gamer Sues Promoter for Lack of Coverage

UPDATE The organizers of a Pokémon Go fest in Chicago went from being booed at last week’s event to being sued by one angry attendee. The offended party, Jordan Norton, has filed a class-action suit against event organizer Niantic after being unable to partake in the online game, claiming they are liable for false advertising Pokemon Go Fest, according to Complex Pop Culture.

Niantic and the carriers supplying coverage for the event have pointed fingers at each other for its failure. Niantic CEO John Hanke said: “On the pure network access issue, we provided detailed estimates on attendance and required data throughput per user to our event partner (Sprint), who worked with the major carriers to allow them to plan for adequate coverage,” he said. “Some carriers deployed Cellular on Wheels (COWs) to extend their capacity. In other cases, the providers deemed them unnecessary based on other infrastructure already in place at the site. Users reported different levels of success with these providers.” 

The lawsuit said the company described a festival “bursting with activity” but was instead fraught with app errors and long lines. Although Niantic offered apologies and refunds, that was not enough to quash the gamer uprising.

“In reality, those in attendance at the Fest were unable to play the Game due to Defendant’s failure to account for the number of people that attended the Fest,” reads the suit. “Due to Defendant’s failure to account and prepare for the number of attendees at the Fest, angry attendees found themselves waiting in line to enter the Fest hours after commencement of the event.”

“Had Plaintiff and the Class members known that they would spend most of the event waiting in lines, be unable to obtain cellular or internet service, and encounter technical problems with Defendant’s game,” reads the suit, “they would not have purchased tickets to the Fest, and would not have spent money on travel and other accommodations.”

Niantic declined comment to Complex Pop Culture on the lawsuit.

August 3, 2017       

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