‘Pokemon Go’ Dev Founder Blames PokeFest Mess on Phone Networks, Bad Software

Last week’s Pokemon Go Fest was more or less a disaster, with widespread connectivity issues causing many of the 20,000 expected fans who showed up to Chicago’s Grant Park to not be able to access the game they’d traveled to the sold out event to celebrate. In the wake of the issues, developer Niantic issued refunds, $100 in Pokecoins and worked the entire day to rectify the issues.

Niantic CEO and founder John Hanke, who faced his fair share of boo’s and criticisms when he took the stage at the event on July 22, recently issued a second statement about the event, both acknowledging the shortcomings of the event and praising some of the more level-headed attendees – who weren’t throwing bottles onstage.

Hanke cites technical issues with Pokemon Go’s software as causing the issues many players faced, likely from an influx of users in one spot trying to access the game. These issues were worsened, he wrote, by network congestion and “oversaturation” of some mobile networks. Over the course of the day, Niantic performed multiple server configuration changes which solved these issues for some attendees, but not all, he points out.

“On the pure network access issue, we provided detailed estimates on attendance and required data throughput per user to our event partner who worked with the major carriers to allow them to plan for adequate coverage,” Hanke wrote. “Some carriers deployed Cellular on Wheels (COWs) to extend their capacity. In other cases, the providers deemed them unnecessary based on other infrastructure already in place at the site. Users reported different levels of success with these providers. Wifi was enabled by one provider as a solution which helped some users but not all. Sprint was onsite as an official partner, deployed a COW, and their network was busy but held up well.”

While Hanke does acknowledge the many shortcomings of his company’s event, in his post he…

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