Wireless data congestion was to blame for Pokémon Go Fest disaster, says Niantic CEO

Niantic CEO John Hanke

In a lengthy blog post, Niantic CEO John Hanke has responded to the disaster that was Pokémon Go Fest, attempting to provide context as to what went wrong. According to Hanke, despite the best efforts of Niantic and American wireless carriers, which were appraised of the event ahead of time, network congestion led to the game being unplayable for the majority of event attendees.

“Technical issues with our game software caused client crashes and interfered with gameplay for some users. The gameplay issue was resolved with a server configuration change and the crashes were also addressed for many but not all users,” writes Hanke.

“A more protracted problem was caused by oversaturation of the mobile data network of some network providers. This caused many attendees to be unable to access Pokémon Go or other Internet services. Network congestion also led to a login issue which affected some users able [sic] to access the Internet. The latency-related login issue was addressed with a second Niantic configuration change.”

He goes on to add that American cellular providers deployed a variety of measures, including mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, in anticipation of the event. However, those measures, as well as any existing infrastructure wireless service providers had in place throughout the city, proved inadequate.

Hanke ends on a positive note, however, writing that Pokemon Go Fest attendees took part in more than 69,000 raid battles where they able to capture 7.7 million Pokemon, 440,000 of which were one of the two new legendaries. During the same time frame, Pokémon Go trainers throughout of the rest of the world caught a staggering 1.9 million legendary Pokémon.

He also says the company still plans to go through with future events.

“Real-world events are core to the Niantic mission of exploration, exercise and social interaction,” writes Hanke. “Last Saturday was not a happy day for us but so that we can continue to build experiences that bring together people, technology, and the real world in innovative ways.”

Source: Niantic