Terrence “2 Milly” Ferguson, a popular New York rapper, is suing Epic Games over the inclusion of a dance in Fortnite. Ferguson alleges that the “Swipe It” emote in Fortnite is an unauthorized copy of the “Milly Rock” dance from his 2014 music video. Fortnite, like many games with a cosmetic element, cashes in on culture by turning memes and pop references into emotes, gestures, and skins. Ferguson is not the first person to complain about the lack of credit or compensation from Epic, but he is probably the most high-profile personality to file papers. “Scrubs” actor Donald Faison similarly accused the studio of swiping his moves as seen in this clip from the show.
Fortnite has drawn ire from many dance creators because of the massive amounts of money involved, as well as the sting of having the dances “appropriated” by the game. For example, many younger Fortnite players call this the “Fortnite Dance” due to it being one of the original emotes, despite it being more properly known as “The Floss” by its creator.
You can copyright “pantomimes and choreographic works” but it’s unclear if the Milly Rock, The Shoot Dance, or any of the other moves used by Epic would qualify under these rules due to the length of the routines.
This is Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. He’s going to be featured on the cover of the October edition of ESPN The Magazine. A first for the publication. If you watch Fortnite gameplay streams, Ninja’s work is inescapable. He plays with celebrities, random people, other famous gamers, and of course, by himself. In April, he broke Twitch records by hitting over 600,000 concurrent viewers. The next month, Ninja broke his own record. By his estimate, he makes “close to” a million dollars a month from donations, subscriptions, and sponsorship deals. To an audience of a certain age, he is the next Michael Jordan or Joe Montana.
Fortnite will soon be available on Android mobile devices, but not through Google Play. Instead, iOS-less players will need to “sideload” Epic’s proprietary software to install and play the game. Speaking to Eurogamer, Epic’s Tim Sweeney confirmed that one of the reasons for not using Google’s app store was a financial concern.
Avoiding the 30 per cent “store tax” is a part of Epic’s motivation. It’s a high cost in a world where game developers’ 70 per cent must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games.
Epic admitted that they would’ve done the same thing on Apple’s devices if they were able to load their software without using the curated (and revenue-sharing) method. Epic has not announced a date for Fortnite’s Android launch.
Epic is putting up $100 million to fund the esport prize pool for Fortnite Battle Royale. That’s $100 million straight from the company’s own funds, rather than crowdfunded by fans. How crazy large is that prize pool? It’s more than the total for the ten most popular games of 2017 combined. It’s epic money. According to the studio, the funding is being done with an eye towards fun and inclusivity, although it’s not clear yet what that really means for the competitive events.
What happens when a music superstar with 36 million Twitter followers hops into a session of Fortnite with one of the most popular videogame streamers in the world? You blow out all the records for Twitch viewership. Late last night renaissance man Drake popped into a game with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and hit a peak of 607,000 Twitch viewers, easily surpassing the previous high of 388,000. Drake performed well, telling Blevins at one point that he’d only got into the game a “month or two” ago.
If that wasn’t enough of a pop-culture confluence, by the end of the night, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver John “JuJu” Smith-Schuster, rapper Travis Scott, and Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom joined the game. It all sounds so amazing that one might think it a prearranged marketing stunt, except for the way the group’s in-game meetup was plagued with technical issues for a good part of the stream. (Drake’s PlayStation tag was apparently too full.) Most of the issues were eventually resolved thanks to judicious use of cross-play between the PlayStation 4 and PC versions of the game. Basically, this may have been the best advertisement for Fortnite ever.
You can check out an archive of the gaming session here.
Everything about this commercial is precious. This advertisement may mark the official launch of Epic’s Fornite in South Korea or it might be hawking bubblegum disco ramen. It’s tough to tell. All I know is that at about 25 seconds in, the main actor does a great job replicating the in-game “floss” dance move.
Bluehole, the publisher of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is not pleased with Epic’s foray into the same arena. While Fortnite Battle Royale is going free-to-play, Bluehole is pondering their relationship with Epic’s Unreal Engine 4. In an interview with GamesIndustry, Bluehole’s Chang Han Kim pointed out that while they pay Epic for their UE4 engine license, Epic has suddenly become a competitor, including the use of Battlegrounds in their marketing.
“We have also noticed that Epic Games references PUBG in the promotion of Fortnite to their community and in communications with the press. This was never discussed with us and we don’t feel that it’s right.”
Whatever the outcome, it’s likely that Fortnite won’t be the last copycat of Battlegrounds. To date, Bluehole’s multiplayer phenomenon has sold over 11 million units on PC alone.
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