Niantic settles lawsuit for Pokémon GO Fest 2017

Almost a year ago, Niantic took on a monumental task: throw the biggest party for Pokémon GO. It didn’t go that well, and that’s an understatement.

Looking to host 20,000 people in Chicago, tickets to GO Fest went fast. But as soon as the gates opened at 10am, things started to go wrong. Not only was the line to get in something like you’d see at Disneyland, cell networks were immediately overloaded by the influx of players in a small area, and the game itself wasn’t performing as expected, leading to massive, fest-wide crashes.

All for the promise of rare, regional Pokémon and a new legendary that turned out to be Lugia. The event ended, people went home, and Niantic moved on. Attendees would later be given full refunds, $100 worth of the in-game currency, and were automatically gifted the legendary Pokémon Lugia for their troubles.

Now, Pokémon GO Fest is on track to happen once again in Chicago on July 14 and 15. We can assume Niantic learned from the mistakes of the first GO Fest, but we’ll have to wait and see. Tickets already went on sale, but if you are desperate to go you can head to eBay and try to snag one there, though for significantly more than Niantic was selling them.

Amid all the hype for GO Fest 2018, Niantic settled a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of attendees by Jonathan Norton and Kenneth J Fleischer, Norton, et al. v. Niantic, Inc, Case No. 2017 CH 10281. Plaintiffs alleged that Niantic violated consumer protection statutes in Illinois, Washington, and California, are guilty of misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment in connection with technical issues that prevented attendees from playing Pokémon GO during Pokémon GO Fest 2017.

The settlement outlines the terms and amount Niantic settled to pay out for all of the attendees. In total, Niantic agreed to pay $1,575,000 to those persons who had a valid ticket for and attended the Pokémon GO Fest last year. Quick note, the wording of this would likely exclude those who bought tickets through 3rd party sellers.

The amount reimbursed to attendees will vary depending on how many people submit claim forms. The reimbursement will be covering anything from airfare expenses, hotel/lodging, car rental, tolls, and a myriad of other things. Documentation is required for large ticket items, and there are preset limits to how much one can claim for categories.

If any money is left after the attorneys take 33 percent of the settlement amount, and the $5,000 each of the plaintiffs receive, that money will be donated to the Illinois Bar Foundation and Chicago Run.

Forms are officially available to submit if you were one of the people that attended. Visit www.GOFestSettlement.com or call 1-866-666-6803 for more information and to find the claim form.

Anyone wishing to submit a claim form must do so before July 24, 2018. Those interested can see the full complaint here.

The completion of this class action lawsuit is setting Niantic up pretty big for GO Fest 2018. If they encounter any of the same problems this year they’ll likely be hit with another class action lawsuit, one that would likely be monumentally easier to win now that there’s precedent. But with Niantic running more events in-game and around the world, there’s doubt we’ll see the same problems happen again.

In other news, we’re on the tail end of Adventure Week in Pokémon Go. Rock-type Pokémon are out and spawning with more frequency than usual. In addition, Fossil-type Pokémon from the first generation have had their shiny variants released with the event. The event ends on June 5 at 1:00pm PDT.

June’s community day celebration is also coming up on June 16. Larvitar will be making a special appearance all around the world for 3 hours between 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Players will also get to experience 3x catching experience and 3-hour lures during the event.