To say that last year’s Pokemon GO Fest was a disaster would probably be accurate seeing the problems that fans encountered at the event which some dedicated fans had paid a fair amount of money traveling to. IGN talked with John Hanke about the lessons the company has learnt from last year’s event and how they plans to rectify them this year at the recently announced Pokemon GO Fest 2018 in Chicago.
“Go Fest was a challenge for us, there’s no doubt,” Hanke told IGN. “As the person who stood up on stage and directly faced the consequences of having the technical challenges, nobody felt it more strongly than I did. Particularly with all of you in the press there to witness that with us, and all of my board members, all of our partners…It was one of the most challenging days of my professional career.”
“We’re coming back at it this year with all that experience [from Pikachu Outbreak event in Yokohama, Japan] and it’s exciting to go back to Chicago. I’m going to be there and I’m looking forward to it.”
“We will be lining up things across the city of Chicago as well as what’s happening in Lincoln Park to encourage that kind of flow that we resorted to at the end of the day last year as we were trying to figure out how to make a diving catch there in the afternoon,” Hanke said. “The evening [after last year’s Go Fest] in Chicago, despite the fact that the day had been so trying, was kind of a golden hour there. As people were out across the city, the weather kind of let up on us. There was a bit of rain a lot of the day, but a lot of the evening, it was nice and kind of cool, and people were out on the streets of Chicago having fun playing Pokemon Go. That’s the part of last year that we want to try to recapture this year.”
“All of the major carriers are deploying COWs (Cells on Wheels), so there will be mobile network hotspots from all the major carriers set up in such a way that we believe we will have full coverage, efficient coverage, for everybody throughout the park,” Hanke explained. “And again, our understanding and our ability to communicate with our partners exactly what the network traffic looks like, and really technically profiling it and communicating it on a technical level, we’re much better at that than we were a year ago, so that’s been the formula that we used last year in Yokohama and Tottori and other places, to really work closely with those network providers.”
“There are going to be themed areas for the different Pokemon types, so we think we’re going to create a really fun, interesting environment for people to move through, and to really experience the full breadth of that park,” he said. “It’s kind of a long, narrow park, which we’re taking advantage of, so I’m excited about what that on-the-ground experience is going to be there. But we do think that as people have moved through that, then there will be an intention for people to dissipate at the end and go off and explore other parts of Chicago.”