Pokeverse received criticism over ticket pricing, child safety concerns, and more serious matters

Pokeverse, a Pokemon fan convention that took place in Mandaluyong, Manila, from May 31 until June 2, 2024, in partnership with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, left con-goers furious over major “red flags” during the event.

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The Pokeverse was described as "the premier Pokémon-themed expo in the Philippines made by fans for fans!” where they featured the voice artist behind the character Ash, Veronica Taylor, and the singer of Pokemon’s original theme song, Jason Paige, as the main event.

The organizers also advertised to feature "trainer quests," "stellar headliners," and "live musical performances," along with cosplay contests and game tournaments and the opportunity to meet Veronica Taylor and Jason Paige.

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However, before the actual date of the event, the convention has already been receiving a lot of concerns from the fans, particularly on the ticket pricing, stating that it is quite overpriced and “atrocious” compared to the average rate of local cons.

They also stated that the convention was not affiliated with Game Freak, the primary video game developer of the Pokémon video games, or the Pokemon company itself. It is instead in partnership with Dubai NFT firm Kaloscope and Frigga, a lucky charm shop.

As Pokeverse concluded, an X user and also a con-goer by the name of @BintuRita elaborated her overall experience during the event via an extremely long thread on X (formerly known as Twitter). She tackled everything from the aforementioned ticket prices to the venue, the singing contest, and more.

To begin her thread, the slogan of Pokeverse is seemingly copied from "Pokécon," an existing yearly Pokemon convention in the Philippines organized by Pokémon Philippines, the biggest Pokemon group in the Philippines.

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While the ticket prices had already received a lot of criticism prior to the actual event, BintuRita made a comparison between TOYCON and Pokeverse’s ticket prices. TOYCON charges around Php500 as a standard day pass, while Pokeverse is at Php1000.

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VIP tickets could go as high as Php6,000 to Php19,500, with various perks including a shirt, collectible card, trainer quest pass, photo opportunity, autographed signature, and a limited edition hat. Other members of the community even pointed out that the organizers were involved with NFT projects, which likely explains the high prices.

BintuRita further listed the issues during the event, including the lack of communication as the schedule wasn’t fulfilled and how the programs caused a lot of confusion for the community and attendees.

Even serious concerns were raised about the Make-a-Wish panel, where terminally ill children were brought on stage for a filming opportunity, wearing surgical masks but highly exposed in front of a massive crowd. BintuRita even said that one of the children couldn’t stand.

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BintuRita also revealed that she was part of the event’s singing contest, where she was able to sing with Jason Paige and the other winners. However, one of her friends, who has scopophobia (an excessive fear of being stared at), was allegedly filmed throughout the event and even posted it online without consent.

Eventually, the organizers decided to release a statement to BintuRita.

"Hi BintuRita, we apologize for the oversight. We are investigating the matters with the production team. The organizers have been very busy with post-production but have said they will reach out to you personally to make sure your concerns are addressed. It’s our first event with very little time to prepare, but we do agree that a lot of things need to be improved for another season, but we appreciate your participation and will continue to take your feedback to do better next time.”

"Please DM us privately, as we did have your prize bags available on the day and were supposed to be given to you after the performance, and we will have them delivered to you this week."

"We have taken down the PokeSinger video as well for the time being to investigate further.”

"But we really appreciate you for being part of the event, and we hope to excite you better for another one.”


After receiving Pokevere’s response, BintuRita clarified that she didn't want her video of her singing to be taken down, but rather, she wanted to take down any media that features her friend, who never wanted to be featured on the video.

Nevertheless, BintuRita said she wished "the convention had more time to be planned.".

"I wish it was more Pokémon-centered. I wish the production team had more emphasis on consent. And I wish they had been more careful with the children in the convention space."

Still, Rita said she had enjoyed meeting Veronica Taylor and having the opportunity to sing with Jason Paige, despite the ‘horror’ she and other attendees experienced during the event.
 
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