A quick Google search will explain why Fortnite is popular. It’s a battle-royale style game which is the flavor of the month because it perfectly suits players’ lifestyles. It’s free, and each game is a quick session. Every round feels like a new story. All of these traits, and many more, explain why Fortnite has not just boomed in popularity; it will likely remain the most popular game in the near future.
Approachable and rated “T for Teen,” Fortnite is ready to be memed about. In growing its cultural capital, its company, Epic Games, happened to make a lot of smart choices.
Player Unknown Battlegrounds popularized the battle-royale style game first. However, Fortnite was free, ran better, and stole most of its audience. It quickly become a way of life.
Fortnite’s player base grew explosively after its release in July of 2017, reaching 3.4 million concurrent players in February. Other than people actively playing the game, however, there were also people streaming, watching content, and creating memes.
One notable example of the game’s reach is Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who became a Twitch celebrity streaming Fortnight. While his YouTube channel boasts 7.5 million subscribers, his Twitch stream boasts 5 million followers. Each video receives 2-2.5 million views.
The game isn’t just for “serious gamers” either, unlike older video game giant League of Legends. The Minecraft-esque building aspect tones down the edge and makes the game about styling on the competition rather than a shooting game about beating the enemies. Overwatch took steps in this direction while Fortnite fully commits to the game being 100 percent about fun and competitive only if you want it to be.
Every step along the way, Fortnite doesn’t try to alienate anyone. It makes in-game mics an option, but you don’t need them to play. Fortnite can be played in solo squad mode which requires minimal coordination if necessary; this reduces the in-game toxicity.
The world is also always ready for a new video game to connect people again. League of Legends, Maplestory, and even Club Penguin (a host of games that were once the main fad) players always find themselves reminiscing about the days when they could hop onto a client and see all their friends online.
The demographic of people who grew up playing and understanding video games only increases, with the younger generations also picking up controllers.
Video games have become more normalized as people realize they are a fun way to hang out with friends even when life keeps you too busy to get together or when you live far apart. Fortnite’s popularity shows the worldwide acceptance — spanning all genders and many age groups — of fad video games.
Will Fortnite stay popular? Seeing as how its company, Epic Games, capitalized so effectively on the popular style of Battle Royale games, they will likely adapt and stay competitively relevant for a long time.
Epic Games is clearly skilled at marketing themselves and understanding what the community wants. Most likely, Epic Games will copy another popular game of the moment, add a building aspect similar to the one in Fortnite, and make another successful game themselves.
There’s always potential for a new game style or company to rise to fame, and it seems that Fortnite might not always remain as the top game that people tweet about. Nonetheless, Epic Games understood the culture of the modern era in a way few others did and created a fun game to play.