Fortnite has been revolutionary to the gaming community since its release. If you haven’t heard of Epic games, you’ve likely heard of their hit series Gears of War. Gears is a much darker game than Fortnite, and it signaled a vast change in direction compared to what Epic has done before. So far, Epic has absolutely changed the game.
On September 26th, 2017, Epic released the “Battle Royale” mode of Fortnite for free. The game originally released with a paid game mode called “Save the World.” By releasing the Battle Royale mode for free (with micro-transactions included), they were able to invite a wave of players that otherwise may not have given it a try. The development of Battle Royale was in part due to the success of games like Player Unknown Battlegrounds, and Epic believed with Fortnite that they could capitalize on the Battle Royale phenomenon. They were right. Now, nearly 125 million people play Fortnite around the world, and it doesn’t seem like they’re going anywhere soon.
Since the Battle Royale mode of Fortnite dropped, Epic has kept content fresh with various different promotions. “Skins” is a term used to describe different characters and costumes gamers can use as their avatar. Fortnite uses these to sell as micro-transactions, but there is much more to it than that. When the World Cup was going on, the game added soccer kits of the world’s teams for players to purchase and wear on their avatars while they play. During the NFL season, they did the same thing with NFL jerseys, allowing people to play in their favorite teams’ uniforms. Virtual spaces have long been a way for people to exist in a space and express themselves in a community outside of the real world. Fortnite has allowed people to do this in a unique way and brings fans from other genres in with their cross promotions.
The Marvel Crossover
Let’s go back in time a little bit to when the latest Avengers movie, Infinity War, was in full swing with its marketing campaign. Now imagine for a second that you’re in the comfiest seat in your house playing some Fortnite. So you log on and you notice…a new game mode? Infinity Gauntlet, it’s called, and it allows whoever finds the gauntlet to become Thanos. If Thanos is killed by another player, then that person becomes Thanos. So you load it up, ready to take on any and all challengers on the path to becoming Marvel’s greatest villain.
The game starts. You set your marker for Salty Springs and get your boots on the ground. Plenty of tangos land near you so you’re on edge. You move quietly from house to house to secure weapons and loot. One of the houses’ basement has a few chests. You take your time hitting those to get your load-out right. As you’re getting ready to move out of the basement though, something horrible happens. A player, who has become Thanos, completely destroys the ceiling above you. Your mind starts racing. “What do I do?? Where can I run??” But there is nowhere to run. In a final act of defiance, you pull out the missile launcher you just looted. If you’re going down, Thanos is going with you. You let it fire, and…well only you were eliminated. Come on…if the Avengers couldn’t take him down what made you think you could?
This was one of the biggest cross-promotions Fortnite has done. It added a completely new take on the game that led to unexpected and thrilling things to happen. Keep in mind that Fortnite has only been around since late 2017. Despite that, they were able to partner with a world wide recognizable brand in Marvel.
Last week, Fortnite broke the mold again. Marshmello, a DJ you probably know from the song “Happier,” held a concert. Not just a normal one though, a Fortnite concert. At the time of the event, players on the game were only able to join one game mode called “Showtime.” This led them to a concert stage set up in a location in the game called Pleasant Park. Marshmello was there on stage in all his virtual greatness and performed a 10 minute concert for around 10 million gamers.
Fans of the game Minecraft will tell you that this wasn’t the first virtual concert held inside a video game. Just last September, people inside the game held a music festival called “Coalchella,” a pun on the real life festival Coachella. What Epic and Fortnite did, though, was different. The Minecraft music festival had issues supporting all of the people trying to join the server. Because of this, it took a few hours for the event to really get started and move as envisioned. This is no fault to Minecraft though. The festival took place in only one server, and hundreds of people trying to join at once in any game would cause issues. Fortnite had a way around this problem though. By making the concert a “game mode,” they were able to have more than enough servers/lobbies to fit everyone that joined seamlessly without an issue.
Fortnite Continues to Raise the Bar
When Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode first released, it seemed like a fad that only had a certain lifespan. Somehow though, they continue to defy the odds, and it looks like they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. They have a loyal fanbase and Epic has done a tremendous job communicating with their players to give them the best experience possible. Let’s look at a few things that Fortnite has going for them.
- The Promotions: We’ve touched on this already, but the fresh content and events have been huge in keeping the community engaged.
- Constant Updates: Unlike some other games, Fortnite is constantly updating it and adding new features and game modes.
- Celebrities: This is a big one. Other areas of entertainment have high profile people at the center of it. Sports, movies, etc all have stars, and so does Fortnite. Today’s generations of kids and even people like me watch competitive players like Ninja often. They are very much celebrities, and they do as much promoting for Fortnite as Epic does themselves.
Those are just a few of the reasons why Fortnite has maintained and risen in its place in popular culture since it released in 2017. We here at PFO are strapped in and excited for what they do next, along with a 125 million other gamers.