Earlier this week, we discovered just how badly Pokemon Go’s first fan event went, with many attendees to the Pokemon Go Fest left unable to play the game they showed up for. At the time, Niantic tried to make things right by offering full refunds, in-game credit and a legendary Pokemon. Unfortunately for the developer, that doesn’t appear to have been good enough for some, as around “20 or 30” attendees have joined a class action lawsuit.
Class action lawsuits are fairly common in the US, though they rarely end in a decent payout for each individual person taking part. According to the lawsuit, the people involved in this class action are seeking additional money to refund travel expenses for getting to and from the Pokemon Go Fest.
The lawsuit was originally filed by Jonathan Norton, who travelled from California to attend the Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago. Given the distance, Norton had to buy a plane ticket, which turned out to be a waste of money, given that nobody at the event could play the new game update due to mobile network congestion. There was also word that Niantic’s back-end infrastructure couldn’t keep up with demand either.
The lawyer taking on this case is Thomas Zimmerman, based out of Chicago. According to him, most of the people at Pokemon Go Fest came from out of state, he also claims to know some that came from outside of the country:
“Niantic is not offering to refund people’s travel expenses for coming to Chicago. Most of the people came from out of state, many people from other countries – I talked to someone who flew in from Japan.”
Niantic did offer an apology and try to make things right with those who attended the festival. Now we just have to wait and see whether a judge agrees that they did enough or not.
KitGuru Says: While I understand that many paid extra to travel to the event, I do wonder how much of that falls under Niantic’s responsibility given the circumstances. What do you guys think? Should the studio pay out extra to those who travelled?