If you go to a concert, you expect to hear music, right? If you go to Comic-Con, you expect to be entertained by the world of comics, right? So when you go to the Pokémon GO Fest, you would expect to be able to play Pokémon GO, right? Well, that’s not how things went down during the Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago. Instead many attendees were unable to use the game at all. It would seem the reason was technical issues. More specifically network congestion. Niantic took some responsibility for “technical issues with the game software which caused client crashes and interfered with game play for some users”. However, the bigger issue was network congestion according to Niantic.
Niantic indicated the following in a blog post: “A more protracted problem was caused by over saturation of the mobile data networks of some network providers. This caused many attendees to be unable to access Pokémon GO or other Internet services. Network congestion also led to a login issue which affected some users able to access the Internet.” So what happened exactly? It’s hard to say, but Niantic is pointing the finger at the carriers. And why wouldn’t they? They advised the carriers in advance of the numbers and the required bandwidth. But it seems they weren’t able to deliver. To me, this is a contract issue. But unfortunately, that doesn’t help poor Timmy who is at GO Fest and unable to participate.
Sprint was able to help out and provide some kind of support, but Verizon has said that it wasn’t their fault. A spokesperson for Verizon has contradicted Niantic indicating that the issue was with Pokémon GO. Who is to blame, then? It appears as though it’s a lot of he said/she said, finger pointing going on. If it is a Niantic issue, then of course they’re going to blame the carriers. It makes them look really bad. But maybe it was an overly saturated network. I mean, there were a lot of people in attendance.
I have a theory though. And I could be completely off base with this. But if the issue really was with the carriers, don’t you think they would own up to it? I mean, Niantic is the one who has more to lose here. Which makes sense that they would point the finger. I’m not trying to make corporations sound altruistic here, but I’ve seen cases where a corporation owns up to it’s mistakes. And then makes it right with the consumers. Again, I’m not saying that’s what Verizon would do this, or has ever done this, but to me this seems like an easy fix for them. Especially if they want to be seen in a positive light by their consumers. But they didn’t. So either it wasn’t their mistake, or they’re horrible.
I joke with the last part. After I learned that Verizon had made a statement contradicting Niantic, I was no longer convinced it was a carrier issue. Like I said before, Niantic is the one who has the most to lose. If they are wanting to keep people engaged, they need to have a working platform. At minimum. After all, that is why people were at Pokémon GO Fest to being with. This is kind of unclear but it appears as though Niantic will refund attendees. Or some attendees. Which again, makes me wonder who really was to blame for this. Niantic intends on hosting these in other cities. Hopefully they have the bugs worked out by then.