Niantic Labs had a tough go of things on Saturday when its first-ever Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago turned into a disaster. The lines were long, the game’s online service wasn’t behaving, and the fans were riled.
Things reportedly got better as the day wore on, but the damage — which saw studio boss John Hanke’s stage appearance greeted with a chorus of boos from the crowd — was clearly done. And while Niantic has taken steps to make things right, the apology tour apparently began right there in Chicago’s Grant Park.
And to be fair: it was a damn good apology. Niantic’s spokesperson at the event seemingly said all the right things, as documented by Polygon.
“Obviously [Niantic] can’t completely make it up to all the people who have come out to Chicago today, but they want to extend the fact that they’re extremely apologetic and unhappy with the process and the results,” the spokesperson told a small group of media attendees at the event.
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“So hopefully this is something that we will never see replicated again, learn from this and move on.”
The spokesperson went on to explain how “horrified” the team was by the whole fiasco, adding that they were “super sorry” especially to anyone who traveled for the event.
Hey, game publishers and developers that sometimes make mistakes (which is to say, all of you): that’s how you do an apology. You own it, and you move on. Some people are still going to be mad at you — as they no doubt are with Niantic — but failing to own your part in things only makes it worse.
Unfortunately, Niantic toned the message down a bit in its formal, web-based apology. The make-good bonuses are surely welcomed by inconvenienced fans, but the language has the robotic feel of a heavily vetted “I’m sorry” note.