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Niantic ‘horrified’ by Pokémon Go Fest

“This clearly was not what we were hoping for”

pokémon go fest Allegra Frank/Polygon

In case you missed it: Pokémon Go Fest went about as poorly as it could have. Visitors who traveled from far and wide spent hours in the blistering sun, unable to play the game due to massive bugs and server errors. No one felt the heat more than Niantic, the game’s developer, which was shocked by just how much of a disaster the event was.

“Obviously they can’t completely make it up to all the people who have come out to Chicago today, but they want to extend the fact that they’re extremely apologetic and unhappy with the process and the results,” a spokesperson told a small group of press on behalf of the development team toward the end of the event. “So hopefully this is something that we will never see replicated again, learn from this and move on.”

The developer already started to make amends during Pokémon Go Fest. Attendees were frustrated — and loud about it — by their inability to play the game during the day, which led Niantic to offer compensation. First, the company promised $100 of in-game currency to all ticket holders. Not long after that, Niantic offered full refunds to everyone for their $20 wristbands.

“Just know that the staff here are pretty horrified with the results, so they want to make good as fast as possible,” the spokesperson told us, just before Niantic put out a much softer official apology on its website.

“I’m super sorry guys — I’m really sorry especially for everyone who traveled international, East Coast, from all over,” he continued telling press. “So this clearly was not what we were hoping for today. Thanks for your patience.”

At least smaller scale organized Pokémon Go events in Europe are off to a good start. A fan-run event in Chester, England saw tons of players walking around the city and catching legendary Pokémon. Chester’s event saw much fewer attendees than the Niantic-sponsored one in Chicago, but there’s still hope yet for players who want to get out and Pokémon Go together.

Watch: Pokémon Go Fest was a disaster