Unofficial Minecraft convention canceled at last minute, organizers accused of fraud

Andy Chalk

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The MineOrama Minecraft convention was very suddenly canceled yesterday, less than a week before it was scheduled to take place. Unfortunate as it is, these things happen from time to time; unforeseen circumstances and all that. But the event raised "just shy" of $600,000 before the cancellation and organizers say refunds won't be offered until "replanning" is complete, and that has not gone over well with ticket buyers.

MineOrama was set to run over July 12 and 13 in New York City, and all appeared well at 10:01 am on July 7, when the MineOrama Twitter account posted an image bearing the message, "No diamond? No problem." But its next tweet, at 5:05 pm the same day, dropped the bad news. "PLEASE NOTE WE ARE NOT A SCAM," it said. "It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that @mineorama has been postponed, stay tuned for updates."

Despite its insistence that MineOrama is not a scam, a great many people responded with their belief that it is in fact exactly that, a position reinforced by the fact that the announcement of the cancellation was not accompanied by an offer of refunds. "MineOrama was postponed because financing fell through. We tried everything to recover, but had to postpone," it tweeted. "Once we replan we will be able to give specific instructions for refunds."

The financing actually fell apart three weeks ago, according to further tweets, but efforts to redesign and presumably scale back the event still left it with a shortfall of around $175,000. Organizers said they will cooperate with authorities and are "sincerely attempting to make this right," but a message posted at mineorama.com also neglects to say anything about when, how or even if refunds will be offered. Instead, it states only that it expects the event will be completely sold out when a new launch date is announced, and that all current tickets will remain valid.

MineOrama organizers claimed that only ten percent of ticket sales went to event staff, while the rest was used to cover "legitimate business expenses." BebopVox of YOGSCAST, however, pointed out in a video released yesterday that organizer Lou Gasco now claims to have sold less than half the number of tickets he said had already been sold in a Forbes article from five months ago, and that according to Ginnel Davis of Pier 94, "Lou never paid payments on the venue since they drew up the contract, so the venue was given away."

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