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The ball might drop at midnight, but Fortnite players don't have to wait that long.

A lot of players logged in today for a few sessions to find a surprise waiting for them on the Fortnite island. At varying points in the game, a rift in the sky would open and give way to a giant disco ball.

The ball then descended, counted down, played some music, made everyone in the lobby dance, exploded, and shot "2019" fireworks into the air before disappearing.

The first we saw of this event happened at 5 AM EST, and it's been seemingly happening every hour ever since. Most of the players and streamers on the game assumed the ball drop must be a mistake or a leak.

Players were understandably confused by the intrusion to their game. It happened at inopportune times for many and seemed like an accidental addition by the developers. It wasn't until later that Epic VP Mark Rein clarified things on Twitter. Fortnite is a global game, after all, and the different time zones mean it's already 2019 in many parts of the world.

One notable difference between this event and others is that it forces players to stop fighting and enjoy the show. Anyone who has been in a public game for other large-scale Fortnite events knows that there are always a few trolls in the lobby. It doesn't matter if everyone is looking to the sky - some people will want the free kills.

Like the last event that took players into an alternate dimension (assuming this was what happened), the New Years event forced a break in the action to celebrate the holiday.

The hourly New Year's Eve party is actually a great idea. Some players will be able to stay up until midnight to watch the Fortnite ball drop, but a lot of fans will have parties to attend tonight.

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