Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Pokemon Go Dev Following Chicago Event Disaster

We previously reported on a new update coming to Pokemon Go, which launched alongside an official real-life meetup for players dubbed Pokemon Go Fest. That event went down in Chicago and was apparently a complete disaster, leaving thousands of players unable to play the game.

Now, we’ve learned (via Polygon) that nearly two dozen (at the time of publication) attendees of the event are filing suit against Niantic, the developer behind Pokemon Go. According to the report, the individuals are seeking travel reimbursement for the wasted time and money spent at the event.

Chicago-based attorney Thomas Zimmerman noted he was contacted by a California man, Jonathan Norton, who traveled there just to play a geotargeted smartphone game where you attempt to catch and battle digital monsters.

Since the initial report, Zimmerman has confirmed at least “20 or 30” other people have joined in on the class-action suit.

“He paid to fly out [to Chicago] for the festival, and had to wait for several hours in line, just like most everybody else in order to get in,” Zimmerman said. To be clear, Niantic is offering full refunds for tickets into their festival, which equate to $100 in-game credit, as well as the promised legendary Pokemon (which the event was centered on them catching).

“We’re not seeking any relief with respect to the failure to get legendary Pokémon, because Niantic is offering that,” Zimmerman noted. “But Niantic is not offering to refund people’s travel expenses for coming to Chicago. Most of the people came from out of state, many people from other countries — I talked to someone who flew in from Japan.”

Niantic also extended the amount of time and locations for users to catch legendary Pokemon, but haven’t commented on whether or not they’ll cover user travel expenses.

Brandon Orselli


Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Mobage – Not even once

  • I’d like to watch the court proceedings on this.

  • AuraMaster DX (austin9568)
  • CRES

    I think I see what the problem is… They where playing Pokemon Go.

  • People flew to chicago for this? Seriously? I’m not sure if I’m missing the appeal or something, or some people are just that crazy.

  • NukeA6

    I expected a mass shootout when I read Chicago and disaster in the same sentence.

  • Of all the things that headline could have entailed, this was pretty tame. I don’t think they realize that not playing Pokemon Go is actually a good thing.

  • Eldhin Hellknight

    It’s their fault. No one forced them to go there

  • SuuLoliBoob

    WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU FLY OUT FOR A SHITTY PHONE GAME?! Like, don’t get me wrong, if it’s your hobby, and you like to travel anyways, fine. But holy shit, why would you waste so much money for something like this?

  • Tubsiwub

    “We paid to get a legendary pokemon out here. Now that we’re getting it, I want them to pay for my travel fees.”

    …what the hell? Screw off. You’re all stupid for flying out to get a fake, digital thing in a mobile game.

  • Migi

    For some reason it reminded me of this.

  • Zack

    They make it sound like someone put a gun to their head and MADE them book that ticket to Chicago. Now they want the legendary Pokemon AND their money back? How dafuq does this crap slide?!

  • すろぉもぉしょん

    This should be a wake up call to do something else.

  • すろぉもぉしょん
  • random

    hahah ebin chiraq meme my dude.

  • Mechonis

    >When casuals try to take a very casual game seriously

  • Jack

    >Actually playing pokemon go in the year of our lord and savior 2017

  • Γεώργιος Αρχαιοκαπηλίδης

    Typical americans, suing everyone over freaking nothing.


    Remember that Newgrounds Flash where Polywhirl laced all the other Pokemon’s weed with acid? Good times.

  • Zanard Bell

    No refunds.

  • Arenegeth

    I will add this case, to the small list of actual consumer entitlement in the gaming industry.

    Though to be honest, most of these folks are fad loving normies and impulsive Mobile-Whales than actual gamers.

  • Lea Pastillaroja

    There are people who flew to Chimpcago just to get a digital pet
    I hope Niantic wins the lawsuit and Nintendo makes a new character called Zimmerman (maybe Kirby’s side kick)
    Only to see the BLM/SJW crowd sperg out about it whill chantin: “he a gud boi he dindu nuffin”

  • sAy_YaS

    Why would they refund travel expenses when they are getting refunds and legendary Pokemon as compensation? People just want something for nothing- and then some more.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    They’re okay with getting ripped off in game but will bust a nut when it’s in real life even thought they both involve losing real money?

  • Casey

    I have a hard time feeling sorry for anyone here. I dislike the idiots who paid good money to travel there. I dislike the company selling a wretched excuse for a “game,” and I dislike most of all that their idea of a refund is 100 bucks of funny munny in their shitty phone game.

  • Neojames82

    Yeah it’s pretty much a shit show no matter how you look at it. All of them are losers at the end.

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    Then maybe niantic shouldn’t have made it out to be a thing people would WANT to fly out for. As in, let everyone just catch fucking legendaries worldwide, who gives a shit if they’re rare or not, the game is borderline dead already. Both sides are stupid, but I don’t honestly know what either Niantic nor PoGo fans expected. Niantic seems surprised by the idea that Pokemon fans tend to gather in large crowds at pokemon-focused events. Fans seem surprised that a company as incompetent as Niantic also can’t run a large-scale public festival, when they can barely run a single mobile app (and this is their second fucking TRY at the SAME APP)

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    People fly in for anime conventions, PAX, etc, how is this any different? This isn’t exclusively PoGo diehards, a lot of these folks were probably just pokemaniacs who wanted to find and interact with a large crowd of other Go players and also other pokefans.

    Some folks might also be a little overeager to swarm to an event like this simply cuz, well, the game’s been dying to the point where they are raking in max profits just from Whales alone, who will stick to the game no matter how little is added to it.

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    Tell that to Fate Grand Order players, Fire Emblem Hero players, FFXV Empire players, and basically every popular monetized app out there.

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    So I take it you’ve never been a diehard fan of anything before.

  • le master trole

    >According to the report, the individuals are seeking travel reimbursement for the wasted time and money spent at the event.

    cry me a river
    adult-sized toddlers I swear

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    Here let me give you some perspective:

    Non-anime fan seeing Otakon or any anicon:
    “WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU FLY OUT FOR A SHITTY CARTOON?! Like, don’t get me wrong, if it’s your hobby, and you like to travel anyways, fine. But holy shit, why would you waste so much money for something like this?”

    Non-gamer seeing people at PAX:

    me wrong, if it’s your hobby, and you like to travel anyways, fine. But holy shit, why would you waste so much money for something like this?”

    do you see what i’m saying?

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    It’s no different from Fyre Fest… Maybe not quite as extreme as “our festival briefly turned into desert island survival”, but if you pay to go to something and the event organizers fuck up, there is nothing entitled about wanting your money back. Mocking them because of the theme of the event rather than the fact the event collapsed into shit, is a bit immature.

  • le master trole

    Yes there is, because you didn’t pay one cent for admittance to the event itself, so the organizer owes you zero (in words: ZERO).
    There was never any contract of any kind.

  • le master trole

    phone gamers

  • le master trole

    “It’s Niantic’s fault that I live in bumfuck nowhere and had to take an expensive plane to this event! Gimme money!”

  • le master trole

    hey, it works
    In a way I don’t even blame them for attempting to exploit this sick, twisted legal system.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    From what a friend said; it’s likely not all Niantics fault but instead peoples cellphone provider being arrogant and not adjusting things so things don’t go down when messaged about it.

  • Mr0303

    I still think that Pokemon Go is a Darwinian test and all these people failed.

  • SuuLoliBoob

    The difference is, the other two can provide you with more entertainment and more things to do like doing/looking at cosplay, tournaments or even buying stuff that otherwise wouldn’t be sold anywhere else.

  • Sean Sharpe

    I’m still shocked there people that play this. Locally, or died in a month because all the parks told players to fuck off… Despite local businesses loving it.

  • Sean Sharpe

    Damn. That’s the most edgelord post I’ve seen here in a long time. Kudos! I’m reminded of the good old days when the comment section was like Stormfront: Weeb Edition.

  • Adams

    In court, one could argue they knew the popularity of the franchise and the game and it would be reasonable to suspect a large crowd and its was Natics fault for not creating an event cap for the event where they actually have the numbers to know how popular it is. I truely think its event holders fault for when incidents like this happen. A lot of times they are blinded by money that they fail to realize other aspects of the event like security, line efficiency, legality of vendor’s products and buisness, refreshments.

  • randomdude

    It’s Chicago. One of the cities you expect someone to get shot in.

  • randomdude

    No, the problem is they were playing in Chicago. How have there not been casualties?

  • Casey

    I have, actually. My avatar should speak to that.However, I wouldn’t go out of my way for a digital event based on an app that is cynically watering down said franchise in a shallow attempt to capitalize on gullible fans.
    Even less so when the company is known for it’s technical issues.

  • InfectedAI

    Are you saying there’s nothing else to do in Chicago?

  • InfectedAI

    They’re getting refunded with in game money for the ticket price, not getting the actual money back.

  • InfectedAI

    I miss those days. :'(

  • Ace

    Yeah man. It’s like flying out to a concert and the concert getting cancelled. Definitely your fault and you don’t deserve to be reimbursed.

  • MT Silver

    Happily. All those games are ripoffs too.

  • Chosen Unbread

    I don’t think that’s a good comparison, since both Otakon and PAX involve many different anime/games in addition to anime/game related stuff. It’s more like going to Quakecon except everyone is only playing a specific version of Quake and no other games.

    But that’s not really too good of a comparison either since Quake is actually fun and not Walk Around and Poke Your Phone Simulator 2016.

    Even if everything went to plan the game has no multiplayer, so what’s the point of a huge event?

  • Richard

    There is plenty to do, but I am told being shot at isn’t fun.

  • ProxyDoug

    Do you even comparissons bro?

  • Funtime Happysnacks

    And none of that was happening at PokeGo Fest at all?

  • Padpaw22 .

    So why not sue the airline instead, They have more to do with your travel costs than the festival would. The festival is not responsible for how the attendees get there. The festival organizers reimbursed the costs of the tickets, and provided extra goodies as a way of apology.

    In what world does an event not going as advertised equal paying for travel fees that they had nothing to do with? Why not charge for the cost of hotel stays as well, food eaten, gas used.

    Why expect people to be personally responsible for anything when you can sue someone else to cover and wipe your ass for you.

  • Padpaw22 .

    How does that equal to your travel fees needing to be covered? Unless niantic sold travel plans for their festival that has nothing to do with them when it comes to liability.

  • Padpaw22 .

    You get your concert ticket reimbursed, not your flight. or should they offer gas money to all those as well that didn’t fly? or how about those within walking distance should they be reimbursed for the time they spent walking there.

  • Padpaw22 .

    Which would entail them to reimbursement of their tickets and such, which niantic has already done, along with additional recompenses.

    I would be most curious how they could argue niantic is responsible for paying their airfares as well as the festival reimbursement they already gave out.

  • Padpaw22 .

    Niantic and the airlines are 2 separate entities. Something those behind this lawsuit seem to not grasp. You cannot demand the airlines reimburse you for a festival failing any more than you can demand a festival reimburse you for your airline costs.