2017’s inaugural Pokémon Go Fest is remembered far more for its failings than its successes. Niantic is committed to giving the fan event another go this summer, expanding the outdoor celebration to a full weekend this July.
Pokémon Go Fest 2018 is subtitled “A Walk in the Park in Chicago,” which speaks directly to what Niantic will have players doing this summer. On July 14 and 15, visitors to Chicago’s Lincoln Park will follow a nearly 2-mile trail to discover rare Pokémon, check out physical guideposts and participate in “exclusive activities,” which Niantic remains vague about.
Niantic does sound more confident that this year’s event will be a better experience than last year’s, when visitors to Chicago’s Grant Park could hardly get online long enough to connect to Pokémon Go. What followed was mass refunds to all participants, free legendary Pokémon giveaways and a class-action lawsuit, which is still pending.
“After getting off to a bumpy start in Chicago last year, we hosted a number of record-setting events in Japan, Korea, and cities across Europe with attendance that ranged from tens of thousands to more than two million,” said Niantic CEO John Hanke. (Niantic will once again hold two international Safari Zone events, one in Japan and one in Germany, this summer.)
A ticket to Pokémon Go Fest will cost $20, just as it did last year. For those who just happen to be in Chicago that weekend, they’ll be able to catch rare Pokémon throughout the city, despite not making it onto the event grounds.
Tickets go on sale May 11 at 9 a.m. PT. They’ll be available through the Pokémon Go Fest website.
Update: Although Pokémon Go Fest will run for two full days this year, a Niantic representative confirmed that attendees will only be able to purchase a ticket for a single day.
“Pokémon GO Fest 2018 is a single-day event,” wrote NianticIndigo, a member of the company’s support team. “You can’t attend both days. However, both days will offer the same experience. This is to allow more players to have a chance at participating in this event.”