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Pokemon Go Fest sounds like a disaster. Fans, unable to play, boo the stage and chant 'fix the game'

Pokemon Go Fest was meant to be a fun day for Pokemon Go fans to find rare Pokemon and kick of the next stage of the mobile game monster. It could be going better. 

Things started well enough, with fans queuing to get in, excited at the prospect of a big community event filled with raids and rare Pokemon. 

But, in what seem to be an on going theme for Niantic, nobody was prepared. Two main things have gone wrong. Firstly, the sheer number of people there has collapsed the phone network so no one can play. 

And, secondly, entry to the event has taken too long, with 2-3 hour queues leaving many outside the main area. 

This is a paid event (with at least one fan we spoke to having spent thousands of dollars to travel from Australia to be there) and, while things started in good spirits, it seems to have gone catastrophically wrong. Both technically and in terms of atmosphere. GR+'s Louise Blain is at the event and, speaking to her, paints an ugly scene filled with upset children and moody crowds booing and chanting. 

This was the scene when Niantic CEO John Hanke took to the stage: 

As well as the booing you can here chants of 'fix the game,' and 'we can't play.' 

Hanke addressed the crowd, saying "I know some of you guys are having trouble getting logged on this morning, and I wanted to let you know that we’re working with the cell companies, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, trying to get that worked out.” It feels like the sort of conversation you'd want to have before you get somewhere between 10-20 thousand people all in one place trying to use their phones.

The organisation seems so overwhelmed that people are even struggling to leave. 

It's gotten so bad that in the time it's taken me to write this Niantic has apparently taken to the stage to offer refunds for tickets and $100 of in-game currency. 

Apparently things are starting to work now and people are playing but, at five hours into the event, it might be too late. Niantic CMO Mike Quigley appearing on stage to announce "this is not the way we had the day planned" is, so far, quite the understatement. 

[Update: Niantic has now extended the capture radius for rare Pokemon to 2 miles outside of the event.]

In former lives Leon's been a scientist, a musician and teacher, stints that included a shoe full of liquid nitrogen, a small tour of Germany and oh GOD so much marking.