The BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing had a movie special this week, and for his number British Paralympic table tennis champion Will Bayley figured, sure, I’ll be Ash and dance with a slightly terrifying depiction of Pikachu, played by professional dancer Janette Manrara. Why not.
To recap: the show, which cost parents £12-20 (USD$15-25) to attend, offered a few lame diversions and a bank of PCs that charged people for a game of the otherwise free-to-play Fortnite.
It was trading entirely on the Fortnite brand, but had absolutely zero permission to use it; a small disclaimer on the foot of the event’s website (which is now down) attempted to state this, but Epic, the creator and owner of the game, are having none of it.
An Epic Game spokesperson tells Kotaku that “The quality of our player experience is incredibly important to us, whether it’s inside the game or at official public events like last year’s Fortnite Pro-Am.”
“Epic Games was not in any way associated with the event that took place in Norwich and we’ve issued a claim against the organizers in the High Court of London.”
The legal action has prompted the company behind the show, Exciting Events, to cease trading. “Epic Games, the owners of Fortnite, have now forced the shut down of the two pre-booked future Fortnite Live events”, owner Shaun Lord wrote to attendees.
“These proceedings by Epic Games has had a catastrophic impact on the company’s ability to trade, which has forced Exciting Events Limited to cease all trading activities immediately and the director of Exciting Events will now seek to limit the losses to third parties as far as possible.”
In the proud tradition of shows like DashCon, Fyre and NathanCon, an under-staffed, under-planned and unlicensed Fortnite party held in the UK over the weekend turned out to be a complete disaster.
Fortnite Live, held February 16-17 in the English city of Norwich, billed itself as “the ultimate Fortnite Battle Royale!”, which would feature stuff like dance battles, activities like archery and rock-climbing, big-screen broadcasts of YouTubers and banks of PCs available to play Fortnite on.
Tickets cost between £12-20 (USD$15-25), and just under 3000 kids showed up for the party. Entry for anyone not in possession of an early bird pass was massively delayed—organisers blamed staff shortages—but once inside things didn’t improve.
The Guardian reports that despite the attendance figures “There was…only space for four children to practice archery at the same time and just one climbing wall tower with room for three climbers”.
Attendees reported that the PC section cost money to play, despite Fortnite being a free-to-play title that kids could have been playing for nothing at home. Disappointed parents have been leaving messages on the show’s Facebook page like:
It was terrible, what an absolute disaster…. not like advertised!! We went for the early bird but some stuff wasn’t even set up!! The best thing about the event was the burger I had!! My son wanted to leave!! And As for the organiser saying it went well, what an absolute joke.
I have got tickets for tomorrow not taking my son to get upset want a refund like everybody else does
It’s awful. I have a very disappointed 9-year old. They should be ashamed.
A tarpaulin lobbed over a van with a plastic slide sticking out the back [was] billed as a ‘Cave Experience’.
But enough words. Please allow this video, uploaded by the show itself presumably as some kind of hype clip, set the scene:
The owner of the show’s operating company, Shaun Lord, told The Guardian that “he had given a refund to everyone who had asked”, and that he’s “dealing with people on an individual basis”.
The event, despite using Fortnite’s name, logo and official art to promote itself, was in no way licensed or approved by Epic Games.