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Pokémon Go Fest is coming back to Chicago despite last year’s issues

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The event will return July 14 and 15

Photo by Dani Deahl, The Verge

The organizers behind 2017’s Pokémon Go Fest in Grant Park are hoping for a smooth return to Chicago one year after the festival’s disastrous debut.

Niantic, the developer behind the popular augmented reality mobile game, announced that Chicago’s Lincoln Park will serve as the North American venue for its 2018 three-city tour with stops in Germany and Japan.

Titled “Pokémon Go Fest 2018: A Walk in the Park,” the event is scheduled for July 14 and 15. It will feature a 1.8-mile-long outdoor course with “physical installations and exclusive activities” as well as “a unique and immersive gameplay experience not seen in any of Niantic’s previous live events,” The Verge reported.

For Pokémon fans, however, the most anticipated features are likely reliable cell service and game servers that can handle the concentrated surge in users.

Last year’s single-day event attracted a sold-out crowd of 20,000 but was plagued by technical issues that caused the game to crash. Niantic apologized by refunding tickets and issuing attendees $100 worth of in-game rewards. The company also faced a $1.5 million class-action lawsuit to cover hotel bills and travel expenses.

“After getting off to a bumpy start in Chicago last year, we hosted a number of record-setting events in Japan, Korea, and cities across Europe with attendance that ranged from tens of thousands to more than 2 million,” said Niantic CEO John Hanke in a statement. “We are excited to be returning to Chicago for our U.S. event.”

One-day tickets for Lincoln Park’s upcoming Pokémon Go Fest will cost $20 and go on sale May 11 at 11 a.m. through Pokémon Go Fest’s official website.

A map showing the course layout.
44th Ward