Facepalm: If you decide to host an event based on a popular video game, there are at least two things it should be: fun and official. The Fortnite Live festival, which was held in the UK over the weekend, was neither of these, leading to Epic Games suing the company behind it.
Around 2800 people turned up to the event, held on the outskirts of Norwich, East Anglia, where they had to spend hours queuing to get in and collect their wrist bands. Entry cost £12 (around $15.50), while unlimited access wristbands were £20 (around $26).
Suspicions that the festival might not live up to expectations came when early-bird ticket holders were seen leaving at 10 AM.
Despite knowing thousands of kids would be turning up, the organizers hired a climbing wall that could fit just three people at a time. There was also a total of four go-karts and archery for four people.
What brought the most ire from parents was probably attractions like the ‘cave experience.’ It turned out to be a tunnel running through a small trailer with a slide, which sounds like something from a Simpsons episode. These activities weren’t covered in the original ticket price and were only available to those who paid extra or had wristbands—those without one got to enjoy the likes of basketball shooting and a flossing dance competition. There was an indoor arena where attendees could play Fortnite, but that also cost extra and involved an hour-long queue.
Not surprisingly, the line for refunds was so long that it took an hour to get through. Shaun Lord, the owner of organizer Exciting Events, blamed the queues on eight of his 19 staff not turning up on Saturday.
Despite everything, Exciting Events said it would be bringing the event back next year, and two more events in other locations were planned. But Epic Games wasn’t happy about the situation.
“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 organisers in the high court of London,” said the gaming giant.
In an email to customers seen by Eurogamer, Lord said: "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.”
Customers waiting for refunds from the Fortnite Live event will be placed on the creditor list, along with ticket holders for the canceled events.