Any time you hear or see Pokemon GO Fest mentioned on podcasts or forums, it seems like someone always brings up the mess that was GO Fest 2017. But now, the outstanding success of Pokemon GO Fest 2020 may play a part in changing the narrative about this event for the future.
For the uninitiated, GO Fest 2017 was a mess on multiple levels. Long story short, the game wasn’t working during the event in Chicago and the CEO of Niantic got booed off the stage. There was even a class-action lawsuit filed against Niantic that resulted in a $1.6 million payout.
One class-action lawsuit and $1.6 million later, we finally arrive at Pokemon GO Fest 2020. There have been events in between that went much better than the original, but none have matched the scope of this year. Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, Niantic decided to make Pokemon GO Fest 2020 a worldwide event.
It wasn’t their first worldwide event, but the current state of the world made it more likely that a massive number of players would be on all at once. And of course, that’s exactly what happened.
Once I launched the game at the beginning of the event, it ran Silcoon smooth. There were Togetic, Snorlax, and Unown popping up constantly from my Incense. Everything was looking fantastic until about an hour into the event when the game started freezing and running extremely slowly.
It was starting to look like Niantic was going to drop the ball again and have another GO Fest 2017 on their hands. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case.
Despite the massive increase of players from the US logging on during that time, Niantic stayed active on Twitter with responses and regular updates on the situation.
After an hour to 90 minutes of Pokemon GO being mostly unplayable, everything was back to normal, save for raid invites.
But at least Niantic made it clear on Twitter that certain “social actions” were temporarily not going to be functional. And a few hours into the afternoon, raid invites were back.
It was incredibly impressive to see how quickly Niantic publicly addressed the issues and then resolved them. Especially when you consider that millions of players from 124 different countries participated in the event.
Even more impressive is the fact that it ran without a single hitch on day two.
Overall, Pokemon GO Fest 2020 was a ton of fun. There were numerous rare spawns like Gible and Litwick as well as challenging Legendary raids against Kyogre, Groudon, Dialga, and more.
I was thinking about saying that Pokemon GO Fest 2020 was the culmination of Niantic’s work from 2016 up to today. But that word just doesn’t seem like the right way to describe what this event was for Pokemon GO.
Pokemon GO Fest 2020 absolutely is one of the highest points for the game, but it’s hard to believe it’ll be the peak of success for this game.
After recently reaching a massive milestone of over $3.5 billion in lifetime revenue, it’s hard to imagine that Pokemon GO won’t continue growing from here.