UPDATE: We received an email from Brinkley Warren, co-founder of MegaBots, confirming some of the details in this report. He said that it was Harrison Gale, co-founder of XDC, who helped organized the event and with whom CEO Marque Cornblatt got into a backstage shuffle with. According to Brinkley, who was not privy to the details of the argument, Cornblatt refused to let the drones engage with MegaBots' Mark II after this heated exchange. We have reached out to Harrison Gale for additional comment on this CES event "bust."
It's not quite "Pacific Rim" but MegaBots was hoping to have a spectacular show in store at CES 2016 in Las Vegas to show off the fighting prowess of its Mark II giant robot. With no other local giant robots to face off with at the moment, they were scheduled instead to blast out some drones out of the sky using its arm cannon. Yes, an arm cannon.
Unfortunately, the Giant Robot versus Quadcopter event was not to be. According to a statement from Brinkley Warren, co-founder of MegaBots, some backstage drama occurred when Marque Cornblatt, the CEO of the event's co-sponsor, aerialsports.tv, suddenly backed out. So instead of battling souped-up drones, the Mark II demonstrated its fighting skills by destroying a bunch of boxes.
Although this in no way diminishes the cool factor of having an actual giant fighting robot at CES 2016, it certainly was a disappointment to many who attended expecting to see a real robo-showdown for the first time.
But according to MegaBots, its vision is to one day make giant robot fights an actual sporting event in the near future.
Already, the Oakland start-up company made waves by issuing a challenge to Japan robotics maker, Suidobashi Heavy Industry, for a robot showdown. The Japanese company has its very own 13-foot tall fighting robot named Kuratas. Although Japan accepted the challenge, it required MegaBots to install some serious upgrades to its robot.
A successful Kickstarter campaign was launched and the fight is expected to go on as scheduled later this year.
If a giant fighting robot sporting event turns out to be successful, it could make huge profits for investors. According to reports, live sports entertainment in the U.S. rakes in $17 billion in revenues annually.
During the Extreme Tech Challenge at CES 2016 last week, the MegaBots founders attempted to pitch their company for Richard Branson to invest in, along with other up and coming tech companies. Regrettably, MegaBots did not make it to the top three and will not be going on the next rounds.
MegaBots still has a long way to go in making its vision a reality. With only two giant fighting robots currently in existence, and the costs of building one too high for average people to get in on the action, it will be a difficult road ahead for them to find broadcasters to take such a gamble on robot fighting events.