Almost a week ago, Niantic made a pretty major announcement, that Pokemon GO’s first official mass meet-up would be “Pokemon GO Fest” in Chicago’s Grant Park on July 22nd. But even though the event is still over a month away, tickets go on sale in just over 48 hours, at 1 PM ET on Monday, yet Niantic has not described, even a little bit, what is actually going on at this event.
There remains only one, non-descriptive line about the content of Pokémon GO Fest, which is from the initial announcement a week ago:
“The fun-filled day of Pokemon GO in the park will give Trainers the chance to meet fellow players and engage in a variety of activities.”
So, the question remains. Is a “variety of activities” enough for non-Chicago players to block off a weekend, plan a road trip, book a flight or reserve a hotel, all for potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars? Who knows? The website hasn’t changed, still offering nothing but an email notification system, a countdown timer and hotel recommendations.
It’s beyond bizarre to me that Niantic is offering no further details about what exactly is happening in Grant Park on the 22nd, and all we have to go on are slightly more involved descriptions of upcoming European shopping mall meet-ups. Those include a chance to “meet Pikachu” (presumably a guy in one of those blow-up Pikachu suits you’re always seeing in Japanese viral videos) and lures placed at the sponsored stops in the mall.
Is…that what Pokemon GO Fest is going to be in Chicago, just on a larger scale? (It’s a 12,000 person venue). That remains unclear. At baseline it will probably be a park full of lures (I live in Chicago, there are a ton of PokeStops down there), but is that enough to make the trip for some?
I attended an informal Pokemon GO meet-up in nearby Millennium Park last July when the game was at its peak, and that was a few thousand people milling around, catching stuff, dressing up, saying hi, and so on. But that was pretty much it. It was fine, but certainly nothing to fly into town for.
Presumably Niantic’s own official event will be more involved, but we really have no way of knowing that at this point with the company remaining mute on what exactly it is they’re about to sell tickets for. We are seeing gyms close down for some sort of gym rework that may involve a live component that could be fun at the event. July 22nd is also pretty much two-thirds of the way through a summer in which Niantic promised to debut Legendary Pokemon. I’ve said a million times I don’t think that Grant Park will be the only place to get Mewtwo or whoever because of this event, but will Legendaries be out by then? Will GO Fest be a hotspot for them, at the very least?
What I’m saying is that with two days until tickets go on sale, we still don’t know if Pokemon GO Fest is a guy in a Pikachu costume and a bunch of lures, or if it’s the only place in the world the Legendary Birds will spawn. It’s probably somewhere in the middle, but we don’t know that either. Time to start talking Niantic, people have to plan for things like this.