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Harry Potter: Wizards Unite already has a fan fest announced

It’s Labor Day weekend in downtown Indianapolis

White River State Park in Indianapolis. The sculpture is Sentinel by Ray Katz of Pontiac, Mich.
White River State Park
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Not even a week since launching the game, the creators of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite have announced a Pokémon Go-style fan fest, to be held over the Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis.

The festival for the augmented reality mobile game will be Aug. 31 to Sept. 1 at the White River State Park, which is right across aforesaid river from the Indianapolis Zoo in the city’s downtown. A news release from Niantic promised that players “will be able to engage in a variety of interactive experiences bridging the in-game experience with the real world.”

That means players on the scene will explore the city and the park “to discover mysterious artifacts, cast spells, and encounter fantastic beasts alongside their friends and other players.”

Since launching Pokémon Go in 2016, Niantic has held three fan fests for the game in Chicago — the first one going so poorly that Niantic settled a class-action lawsuit with the more than 18,000 who attended. Neither the game, nor its servers, nor the wireless service in the area could handle a crowd that size; Niantic’s chief executive was booed from the stage, and the company refunded tickets and offered in-game currency as a make-good.

The festival returned to Chicago in July 2018 and the event went much more smoothly, with better mobile connections, more engaging activities and a better focus on solo play to help manage the throng. This year’s fan fest was just held in Chicago (back on June 13-16), and there will be one in Dortmund, Germany on July 4-7 and another in Yokohama, Japan on Aug. 6-12.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite was announced back in March and launched June 21, for Android and iOS devices. Like Pokémon Go, players explore the real world with their phone, collecting “foundables” like magical creatures and items. It’s a lot more detailed than that; this guide has plenty more on what the game entails.

“We’re delighted to welcome thousands of wizards and witches playing Harry Potter: Wizards Unite to Indy over Labor Day weekend,” Leonard Hoops, the president and chief executive of Visit Indy, said in the statement. “Our long history of hosting gamers from around the world [a reference to the 52-year-old Gen Con] and delivering large-scale events makes Indy the perfect place to launch this first-of-its-kind event.”

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