Pokemon Go Fest 2018 Caught 21,000 Trainers, Didn’t Completely Catch Fire This Time

Last year’s Pokemon Go Fest was a complete disaster. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate all things related to developer Niantic Labs’ hit mobile game only to hit server issues that made it nearly unplayable. Niantic apologized, refunded tickets, and gave players $100 of in-game currency but they still got sued anyway (and settled for $1.5 million). However, despite some issues with ticket sales in MayPokemon Go Fest 2018 restored some goodwill by functioning and attracting over 21,000 hopeful trainers. This is more than the estimated 20,000 people that attended last year’s event.

Niantic revealed the data on their website earlier today. In addition to the 21,000 attendees, 180,000 more participated in the Professor Willow’s Global Challenge in the surrounding Chicago area. There were “tens of millions” more that also helped with the challenge. On average, people who attended the event each walked six kilometers (slightly less than four miles), completed 36 research tasks, and caught 350 Pokemon on July 14 and 15 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.

The fact that the servers didn’t melt was part of careful planning. The Chicago Sun Times reported that the park was surrounded by temporary cell towers from reinforced by Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Verizon used cell on light trucks (COLTs) while AT&T and Sprint deployed cell on wheels (COWs) to boost service. T-Mobile utilized “additional temporary cell sites.” Niantic’s spokesperson Yafine Lee told the Sun Times that the event would be “more geographically distributed compared to last year.”

Even though Pokemon Go Fest is over, players will still be able to access bonuses for their global challenge success during the event. This means trainers will get double the Rare Candy when catching Pokemon and hatching Eggs, guaranteed Rare Candy during raids, and all Eggs will hatch in half the distance.

Zapdos, the first-generation electric-based legendary bird, will also be available during raids on Zapdos Day. That is July 21 for those of you without Pokemon-themed calendars.