Pokemon Go Fest Chicago began on Saturday with many paying customers still waiting to be let into the park.
The Chicago event was scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. CDT, but from early on, it became clear that it was going to take much longer for the crowd to be let into Grant Park than expected, especially because there did not seem to be that many people checking tickets compared to how large the turnout was.
Tickets are required to attend Pokemon Go Fest. In order to be let in, patrons had to have their tickets checked, and they were subsequently given a QR code.
The day was built around “challenge windows,” three half-hour periods when players had to catch as many Pokemon as possible. But the first challenge window came and went from 11:00 to 11:30 a.m. while quite a few players remained stuck in line and seemed to be nowhere close to gaining entrance.
At 11:21 a.m., with the first challenge window nearly over, Reddit user Permacapybara complained, “I have been in line since 9:30. Not even close.”
It looks like it could be a few more hours before many people are let into the park, by which point they would have missed two out of the three challenge windows. The lines are so long, in fact, that some are concerned about whether they will even be able to make it in at all.
Even for those who were able to get into Grant Park, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. The app has been plagued by technical issues all day to the point that during the opening ceremonies, players could be heard chanting “Fix the game!” When Niantic’s CEO took the stage, he was loudly booed. Later, chants of “Fix the servers!” broke out, and in general, boos have been audible on the live stream for much of the event.
Speaking of that live stream, Niantic has been using it to broadcast footage of players in Grant Park, and at one point, the stream highlighted someone becoming frustrated as the game froze. Later, Niantic attempted to play a pre-recorded video about raid bosses, but the audio was so badly glitched that they cut it short and never played the rest of it.
A few hours into the event, Niantic started playing music, presumably to help drown out the boos on the Twitch broadcast.