John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic Labs, took the stage at Pokemon Go Fest Chicago today and received loud boos from thousands of players in attendance.
This is because many of the fans who paid to attend Pokemon Go Fest Chicago are having issues playing the game, which is currently being plagued by server issues. Upon taking the stage, Hanke said that he understands that some people are having trouble getting on and that Niantic is hard at work to fix it.
“We’re going to get things rolling with the servers,” John Hanke said. “Please trust us and be patient with that.”
During the fest’s opening ceremonies, players could be heard chanting “Fix the game!”
Hours later, the servers did not seem anywhere near close to being fixed. Players across Grant Park were still having issues with the game crashing, and the sound of boos has been pretty frequent on the Twitch stream. Around 11:50, when Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico took the stage to inform fans that Niantic was still working on the technical glitches, players could be heard booing and chanting “Fix the servers!” At one point, Niantic started playing music, presumably to help drown out the boos.
Crowds were also angry because a significant chunk of players were still stuck in line when the event began. Pokemon Go Fest Chicago is built around “challenge windows,” half-hour periods during which players have to catch as many Pokemon as they can. The first challenge began at 11:00 a.m. CDT without everyone being in the park yet; they were still waiting to have their tickets checked. By the time the challenge window ended, many of these people remained stuck in line, and it seemed like they would have to keep waiting for a few more hours.
The official live stream of Pokemon Go Fest run by Niantic has also not exactly gone particularly well. At one point, the sounds of someone plugging a device into the USB port of a computer were audible, as was a person tapping on a microphone and saying “testing.” Later, Niantic attempted to show a video about defeating raid bosses, but the audio was so glitched that they had to cut it short.
Needless to say, the beginning of Pokemon Go Fest could certainly have been smoother.