It was supposed to be the biggest event for “Pokémon GO” this year, but the Chicago event went about as poorly as it could have. Lines lasted for three hours, the game crashed, and the catch challenges seemed to disappear into thin air. No one felt the heat more than the game’s developer Niantic, which was at that time reminded of the earliest days of the app’s launch – full of connectivity issues and non-stop crashes. In short, nothing worked -- but does that mean nobody had fun?

Massive issues plagued ‘Pokémon GO’ Fest

While Niantic had clearly touted increased chances of rare Pokémon, various rewards, and global challenges, it appears the developer’s servers didn’t quite expect the massive influx of players, wreaking havoc at Chicago’s Grant Park.

Niantic rectified the disaster by making amends: it promised to give out free in-game currency of $100 to those who bought tickets. Not long after that, it offered full refunds to everyone for their $20 wristbands.

It had to, considering Niantic CEO John Hanke himself became the subject of boos from the crowd when he came on stage. Cries of “Fix the servers!” and “Fix the game!” drowned out most of what he said, and as if that’s not bad enough, the developer was forced to somewhat leave out the concept of a raid to crack open Lugia, the Legendary Pokémon that was supposed to be the highlight of the event.

Polygon was at the event and reported that a spokesperson for Niantic told that press the staff were “horrified” with the results.

“Obviously they can’t completely make it up to all the people who have come out to Chicago today,” the representative said. “But they want to extend the fact that they’re extremely apologetic and unhappy with the process and the results.”

The recovery

Niantic’s original plan included a special Legendary Raid followed by a global unlock a day later – it didn’t work.

So it decided to go ahead and released two Legendary Birds: Lugia and Articuno. That was mainly the turning point of the disastrous event. Within minutes, the disgruntled “Pokémon GO” Fest crowd lit right back up, and although they were still network errors, they weren’t as bad as what players experienced earlier that day.

It was, undeniably, a tough day for Niantic.

Things didn’t go well, but they still tried to make up for it and offered a formal apology. However, the developer still has something good going for them amid that faux pas -- The Safari Zone in Europe is going quite well, so it seems there is hope elsewhere.

Niantic ought to step up its server game – this much is true. And some people will remain mad, but it doesn’t mean “Pokémon GO” will be totally abandoned. After all, Niantic is hell-bent on luring players back, and somehow, it’s working.