Niantic announced recently on their blog that the planned live Pokémon Go events at several Unibail-Rodamco shopping centers are being postponed until “a date later in the fall.” This is bad news for trainers living and traveling in Europe during August, but by way of an apology, the blog post promised that “Pokémon that are rarely seen in Europe will be appearing soon in certain European cities for a brief time.”
As disappointing as this may be, it’s probably for the best that Niantic is opting to shutter some of these events.
Pokémon Go Safari Zones: Niantic isn’t ready to host large-scale events for the game yet
It’s no secret that the Pokémon Go Fest was a disaster. Although the community showed a lot of patience in the face of overwhelming technical issues, Niantic was still forced to issue refunds for ticket-holders as well as in-game rewards like PokéCoins and the special raid boss, Lugia.
But that wasn’t enough for some Fest attendees. Polygon recently reported that some attendees are filing a class-action lawsuit against Niantic for restitution for travel expenses. And then there are those attendees who won’t benefit from a refund because they bought scalped tickets.
The point is that Pokémon Go probably can’t survive another hit like that. Especially not if it wants to build up a strong community around the game. Although it’s going to disappoint many trainers — and hell, the complaints have already started rolling in from players who made travel arrangements — it’s better for Niantic to preemptively cancel some of these events.
Better that than to be on the hook for two more weekends of live events if the initial one goes as poorly as the Fest did. Hopefully the Yokohama Pikachu outbreak, happening from August 9 to 15, will drum up the same goodwill that the Lapras and Snorlax tourism events did.
Pokémon Go Safari Zones: What Niantic needs to focus on before creating more live events
One of the best things to come out of Pokémon Go Fest wasn’t legendary raids, which are proving to be a fruitless endeavor for all but the most prepared and socially connected trainers. Rather, the glut of bonuses Niantic introduced were the real stars of the show, for a number of reasons.
Since the bonuses dropped, I’ve noticed that this is the first time I’ve felt like I did anything significant. With egg hatch distances reduced and candy gains doubled for the duration of the bonuses, I felt like I had a sporting chance to level up my Pokémon and build a team that would have been capable of holding down a gym. For the first time, my progress felt anything but incremental. I found myself getting excited about the game again.
The windfall of PokéCoins I received from attending the event went a long way toward increasing my in-game quality of life. Time I’d spent agonizing over what to throw out was quickly replaced with more time spent walking and catching Pokémon. I could finally afford a king’s ransom of incubators and clear out enough eggs to actually get a 10 km egg for the first time in months.
Niantic really put the cart before the horse when it came to improving the game for its first anniversary. I’d much rather have my daily return on investment improved than continue to witness events go sideways. Hopefully Niantic can refocus their efforts and come back stronger.
More Pokémon Go news, updates, tips and tricks
Raids are here — and not just for ordinary Pokémon. Check out our coverage of the legendaries now in-game, Lugia and Articuno. Find out what went wrong at the Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago while you wait for the debut of the European Safari Zones in August and September. Finally, check out some reporting on the issues plaguing rural players a year after launch, how the game created a space for black female gamers and how Pokémon Go can continue to build its community.