The US-based makers of the game Fortnite are suing an events company from Lincolnshire after it used the name of their game in a children’s event that was described as ‘shambolic’.
Epic Games, based in Cary, North Carolina, confirmed to Mail Online that the ‘Fortnite Live’ event in Royal Norfolk Showground Arena in Norwich was ‘not in any way associated’ with the multi-billion dollar company.
The Fortnite Live event was billed as the ‘Fortnite event of the year’ with thousands of youngsters looking forward to being immersed in a world based on their favourite game.
Parents hit out at the Fortnite Live event near Norwich that charged an extra £20 for a ‘caving experience’ that was ‘basically a truck with a bit of plastic on the roof and a slide’
The event in Norfolk featured a climbing wall that could only fit three climbers at a time despite 2,800 people attending. Fortnite makers confirmed the event had nothing to do with them
Parents paid between £13.52 and £22.14 for advanced tickets, but had to shell out £20 extra for activities like a ‘cave experience’ that turned out to be a tunnel running through a trailer with a slide, according to one disgruntled parent.
After a huge backlash online that included dozens of angered parents saying they would report the event, the producers of the uber-popular game say they have issued a claim against the organisers in London’s High Court.
A spokesperson for Epic Games told Mail Online: ‘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.
Fortnite was released in July 2017 and was said by Bloomberg to have brought the value of Epic Games to a new level. Pictured are some of the main characters in the game
Parents (pictured queuing) paid between £13.52 and £22.14 for advanced tickets, but had to shell out £20 extra for activities like a ‘cave experience’ that turned out to be a tunnel through a trailer with a slide
‘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.’
There were 2,800 festival goers at Saturday’s event, but the climbing wall hired by organisers only had room for three people at a time. There were similar issues on Sunday.
Fortnite was released in July 2017 and was said by Bloomberg to have brought the value of Epic Games to a new level.
Fortnite ‘battle royale’ mode which involves 100 characters fighting for survival on a dystopian island
One woman also said she was aghast to find merchandise that appeared to trivialise drug use on sale at the children’s event
Bloomberg analysed the gaming phenomenon and the site’s Billionaires Index placed Epic Game’s value between $5 billion and $8 billion.
A more recent valuation placed the figure closer to $15 billion (£11.7 billion).
The game has been played by more than 125 million people, making it the world’s most popular video game – a certain way to attract youngsters to any themed event.
Parents at the Norwich event claimed they had to queue up to an hour to get into the festival at the Norfolk showground, and another hour to get wristbands for activities they had to pay extra for because they were not covered by the original ticket price.
Claire Watkins with husband Paul and son Connor, nine, who were left disappointed at the Fortnite event in Norwich which has been brought to the attention of the High Court
Organisers finally agreed to issue refunds after they were swamped with complaints about the ‘rip-off’ day – but that took another hour, parents claimed.
It was also alleged that even the refund queue was about 70 yards long.
Speaking whilst waiting in the queue for a refund, Philip Hinchliffe, from Norwich, who had brought his 11-year-old son to the event, said: ‘He’s out in the field playing with sticks, he’s having more fun doing that than he did at this event.’
Justine Petersen, who queued for 90 minutes to get in with her husband and her nine-year-old son Richard, said it was ‘like the episode of Father Ted when the fair comes to Craggy Island’.
Parents also described ‘upset children everywhere’ and went as far as to call the event ‘depressing’.
‘I felt like they were just trying to capitalise on something that was popular and just scam people,’ added Justine Petersen.
The attractions that did not require a wristband included a bouncy castle, basketball shooting and a flossing dance competition on a small stage.
Claire Harris, of Norfolk is pictured with her son Charlie at the event, which she said was ‘uninspiring’
The event was dubbed on its Eventbrite listing as ‘the ultimate Fortnite Battle Royale!’ where children could ‘floss til you drop.’
Organisers blamed staff not showing up on the apparent failure of the event and followed it up with a statement on Facebook: ‘Wow what a day. So many happy children have enjoyed a great day at Fortnite Live Norwich today.’
The statement continued: ‘However, these happy visitors have been accompanied by a mixed bag of feedback with the queues wearing thin on some visitor’s patience and we sincerely apologise to those visitors who gave feedback regarding the queues.’
It was inundated with comments from unhappy customers who said that the statement was an attempt to embellish the truth.
IT Manager Elliot Drew, 48, of King’s Lynn, Norfolk, is pictured with his son Alfie, 12. He said the event was a ‘bit of a joke’
Steph Randall said: ‘I’d have had so much more respect if you’d have come out and apologised not this dribble.’
One woman also said she was aghast to find merchandise that appeared to trivialise drug use on sale at the children’s event.
Joanne Robinson shared an image on the event’s Facebook page of a flat cap with a marijuana leaf on it and a beanie hat carrying the embroidered message ‘cocaine and caviar’.
She said both were on sale at a stall near the entrance to the event.
Ingrid Villalba added: ‘My daughter came home asking what cocaine was after seeing those hats.’
Facebook user Lula Phillips posted: ‘My husband and son have just left, I can’t believe you have charged people for that absolutely shocking non event.’
Adrian Vivian added: ‘What a rip off!! Badly organised, was marketed very well but didn’t deliver what was expected. Very, very disappointed!!’
Youngsters are pictured at computer screens playing Fortnite en masse in Norwich
Visitors took to social media to complain about the ‘shambolic’ two-day event
Oliver Phillips of Sudbury, Suffolk, said he and his son Theo, 10, were at the front of the queue when the event opened at 10am, by which time early-bird ticket holders were already leaving.
Shaun Lord, owner of Exciting Events which organised the festival, said there were problems with queues as eight of his 19 staff had not turned up on Saturday.
He admitted he gave a refund to everyone who asked for one, but he refused to say how many people that was, saying: ‘We are dealing with people on an individual basis.’
Parents claimed they had to queue as long as an hour to get into the festival at the Norfolk showground
But Mr Lord who is based in Spalding, Lincolnshire, added: ‘There are a lot of people who have told me they have had a fantastic time and their kids have thoroughly enjoyed it.
‘We will take everybody’s feedback into consideration and we will act on it.’
His company had been planning further Fortnite events in Spalding and Newark, Nottinghamshire.
Shaun Lord has been contacted directly for further comment.
Mr Lord began his career as a sales manager in 2003.
During this time he started three events businesses called Exciting Events – which ran Fortnite Live, Fairytale Wedding Company and Pink Sheep Events. Mr Lord is still employed by them as the director or co-owner, reports Norwich Evening News.
Parents are pictured queuing for refunds, which many claim took another hour
Shaun Lord, owner of Exciting Events which organised the festival admitted there were problems with queues, saying eight of his 19 staff had not turned up on Saturday. Pictured, parents queuing at the event
WHAT IS FORTNITE?
Fortnite is a game that originally launched as a disk back in July 2017 and was then turned into a free-to-download game by its developer, Epic Games, in September.
There are three forms of the game: ‘Battle Royale’, ‘Save The World’ and ‘Playground’.
Save the world is the original form of the game and is currently not available to play as part of the free-to-download game, instead it comes as part of a £30 ($40) extra.
It is a co-op mode with a story that’s playable solo or online with friends.
Fortnite is a battle royale-style survival shooter where players create a superhero avatar and compete against each other on a dystopian island
Users compete in teams of up to three to complete a variety of missions.
It is rumoured that the game will be added to the free-to-play version of the game in the future.
Whilst Save The World may be the original version of the game, its sister mode is by far the most popular.
Battle Royale is a game of survival where players create a superhero avatar and compete against each other on a dystopian island.
Each game, or ‘match’ as each competition is known, starts with 100 players.
The aim of the game is to be the last one standing. Users can form allegiances and play in small groups.
To enable this and the interactive experience, the game allows completely open communication between players.
Inspired by the Hunger Games novels and films, gamers search for weapons to help them survive.
Armed with quirky weapons and amusing dances, the game has swept across the gaming world, with children flocking to it.
While there is no exact figure on how many children play Fortnite, the game has so far pulled in an audience of over 125 million players.
Playground is the latest addition to the game and is a consequence free mode with more loot and unlimited respawning to allow players to get creative.
It involved groups of up to four people working as a team and the players can hone their skills as the practise in advance of entering Battle Royale where they will face better players.