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Second Annual Pokémon Go Fest Draws Over 21,000 Attendees

“Pokémon Go” developer Niantic has apparently redeemed itself after its disastrous Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago last year. An estimated 21,000 people attended the 2018 event in Lincoln Park, and 180,000 participated in the surrounding Chicago area.

Event attendees walked an average of more than six kilometers, completing an average of 36 research tasks and catching an average of 350 Pokémon on July 14 and 15, Niantic said in a thank you message to fans.

“The mood was infectious all weekend,” it said. “The feelings of courtesy, kindness, and togetherness never left Lincoln Park, even as trainers filed out at the end of Sunday’s journey.”

Last year’s Pokémon Go Fest wasn’t nearly as cheerful. The event was plagued by connectivity issues that prevented fans from logging in to the augmented reality game. At one point, attendees booed Niantic CEO John Hanke with cries of “Fix the game!” and “Fix the servers!” Some reportedly threw water bottles at hosts.

Niantic tried to make good by refunding all ticket costs and giving “Pokémon Go” players $100 worth of in-game currency. But, that still left festival attendees on the hook for hotel and transportation costs. One person later filed a class action lawsuit against the developer. It was reportedly settled for over $1.5 million in March.

Now that the fest is over, Niantic will award bonuses related to the game’s Global Challenge. Players can get double the usual candy when catching Pokémon and hatching eggs until July 23. They’re also guaranteed a rare candy during raids. Plus, Niantic said all eggs will hatch in half the distance, including 7km eggs that hatch Alolan Pokémon.

In addition, Niantic said legendary Pokémon Zapdos will be available in raid battles around the world during Zapdos Day on July 21. Here are event hours in each region:

  • The Asia-Pacific region: 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. JST
  • Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. UTC
  • The Americas and Greenland: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. PDT

Pokémon Go Fest 2018 is part of what Niantic has dubbed the Pokémon Go Summer Tour. The last leg takes place Aug. 29-Sept. 2 in Yokosuka, Japan. If players complete all of their tasks by the end of the tour, they’ll get a mysterious “special ultra bonus.”

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