Niantic has settled to pay $1.6 million to reimburse Pokemon Go Fest attendees following a class action lawsuit. Back in July last year, the Pokemon Go Fest was such a disaster that Niantic gave full refunds for tickets. However, attendees filed a class action lawsuit for further compensation, including travel costs. As a result of the settlement, attendees will receive a notification on 25 May. The 18 000 attendees can follow a link to submit their receipts and receive a share of the settlement as compensation. Polygon reports that they will also receive an email. If attendees are verified through receipts and prior registration through the app, they will be reimbursed by November.
Pokemon Go Fest
For some background, here are some details about the disastrous Pokemon Go Fest. On 22 July Niantic hosted Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago’s Grant Park to celebrate the game. With the promise of increased encounters, special PokeStops and exclusive rewards, 18 000 fans attended. Niantic gave players access to rare Pokemon that aren’t found in Chicago. They also had a special event where if players completed three different challenge windows, they would unlock a legendary raid. This was the first time a legendary pokemon was available. While the fan fest started off fine it quickly came crashing down.
There were three main issues. The first was an easily foreseeable issue with the internet service providers. As all attendees were relying on phone data and the internet, there wasn’t enough bandwidth in the area to sustain heavy traffic. As a result, players could barely play due to slow internet, assuming they connected at all. The other two issues were problems with the game itself. Niantic discovered that the new update came with an authentication bug and a serious crash issue. The whole event bombed from there, with the presentations and hosts getting bombarded with boos.
lol, people booing at Niantic CEO John Hanke on stage at Pokemon Go Fest because the game is unplayable for many attendees pic.twitter.com/QFZQTiMRxr
— Wario64 (@Wario64) July 22, 2017
As compensation for the disastrous event, Niantic offered attendees full refunds and $100 worth of in-game items. Less than a week later, attendees filed a class action lawsuit. Normally these cases are dismissed under a disappointed expectation clause, explains attorney Thomas Zimmerman. He explains that in the eyes of the law “you didn’t buy a ticket to see an event that you were going to enjoy. You bought a ticket to an event, and you got an event”. He points to a similar case regarding the Mayweather v Pacquiao boxing match in 2015. Despite Pacquiao hiding injuries from the public, meaning it wasn’t a fair and competitive fight, the case was thrown out because people paid to witness the event, not enjoy the event. That is why this case was particularly difficult.
However, Zimmerman believed that the event Pokemon Go Fest attendees paid for was not the event they attended, due to the issues. To argue his case he analogised the time when the Miami Dolphins used replacement players during the NFL strikes of 1987. People paid to see the Miami Dolphins, which meant the players selected for the team, not what they got. As a result, the court decided that Niantic should pay $1.6 million in reimbursements. In that regard, it was an outstanding success, “People should be ecstatic, they will be able to claim in and get 100 cents on the dollar.” said Zimmerman.
Pokemon Go released its latest legendary Pokemon, Latios And Latias, earlier this week. For more Pokemon news, stay tuned to Gamers Classified.