Epic is asking TikTok users to create Fortnite’s next emote. Over the weekend, Epic kicked off a weeklong contest that will award in-game prizes to someone who posts an original dance move to TikTok along with the hashtag “#EmoteRoyaleContest.” The winning dance will be brought into the game as a new emote, one of the many elaborate moves Fortnite characters can burst into in celebration.
The contest seems to be part of a bigger strategy from Epic that’s designed to keep people talking about Fortnite, as its popularity wanes ever so slightly following two truly blockbuster years. Last week, Epic launched an in-game skin based on Ninja and said that more creator tie-ins were coming. It had the effect of getting Ninja and his fans excited about the game, and it gave other creators a reason to keep playing Fortnite in the hope that they might get a tie-in someday, too.
Alongside the dance contest, Fortnite also unveiled two more creator tie-ins: emotes based on Jordan Fisher, an actor and frequent Fortnite e-sports host, and Pokimane, the 10th-most-followed streamer on Twitch. Pokimane said she created the dance herself over a weekend after being approached by Epic. A video of the dance posted to Twitter already has 2.6 million views. “There’s no skin for now,” she said on a stream unveiling the emote. “Maybe some day.” The custom dances have to be purchased in game, and it’s likely that creators are getting some cut of the sales.
Searching for dance moves on TikTok offers another way for Epic to keep conversations around Fortnite going. While the contest is only a week long, it means a week of people mentioning Fortnite alongside new dance moves in the hopes of breaking out, reminding TikTok users of another way they could be spending their time. It also offers Epic a cheap way to get a new dance move. Epic previously held a dance contest in 2018, but it asked for submissions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Fortnite has had a messy history with emotes, having been accused multiple times of stealing dance moves that went viral online. While the lawsuits are stalled right now, Epic has been sued over the floss dance and the Carlton dance, among others. One lawsuit alleged that Epic copied moves from the music video for “Gangnam Style” by cloning Psy’s movements frame by frame.
Searching for new original dances avoids that problem, at least so long as Epic can confirm the community-made moves are original.