In recent years, there has seemed to be an influx in worldwide trends. Last year it was the fidget spinner, which in April 2017 accounted for 17% of toy sales worldwide. In 2016, there were a plethora of trends such as dabbing, the dance move that made its way all over social media; next, the “killer” clowns that struck paranoia into most people’s hearts over the course of September and October became popular; and lastly, perhaps the largest trend of 2016 year, Pokemon GO, a game, attracted 27 million players to the popular pocket monster catching game.
Since the start of 2018 a mere few months ago, there have not been many trends worth noting other than one: Fortnite: Battle Royale, the online, player vs. player shooter game which matches up 100 gamers and awards only one winner. Since the game’s quiet release back in July of 2017, Fortnite: Battle Royale, has now acquired 67 million players who have an account, and up to 3.4 million players engaging with the game at one time, breaking multiple records. Fortnite released a mobile version of the game which in its first month had a revenue of over $25 million, excluding the revenue made from the PS4, PC, and Xbox One versions, which adds up to about $223 million in March alone. However, what aspects of Fortnite have attracted such a gargantuan crowd?
Many gamers and YouTubers may remember the release of Minecraft, the sandbox, build-your-own-world style game back in May of 2009. Minecraft came to be one of the most well known and most played games of all-time with 144 million copies sold by the end of January of this year. One of the many reasons players are so drawn to Fortnite is because the game combines the aspects of a classic shooter game with the building mechanics of Minecraft, allowing players to build bases and put their own personal touch into the game.
Another aspect of why Fortnite is dominating the gaming world in 2018 is due to the fact that the game is completely free to play, if you choose to not participate in in-app purchases which allow you to tweak the cosmetics of your character. Having a console game as big and as popular as Fortnite that is free of charge opens up many doors for all kinds of players, and, as we have seen, many players are running through those doors with the intent to achieve a Victory Royale.
Fortnite has also made its mark on social media platforms and streaming services, such as Twitch and Youtube. It has become the number one viewed game on YouTube this year, surpassing the reigning champion, Minecraft, which reeled in 3.7 billion views per month a year ago. Twitch streamers like Ninja, whose legal name is Tyler Blevins, are making up to $350,000 dollars a month from subscriptions to his live streams. Not only is Fortnite a hit with social media and the like, mainstream media companies such as NBC and Fox News have noticed the relatively new game gaining momentum in recent months. Fox News went as far as to label Fortnite as a “Cultural Phenomenon.” Multiple stories have been released about the game, some in favor of its addictive qualities, and others have been released in spite of them, including schools banning the game due to lack of productivity.
For the past three months, Fortnite has been dominating the gaming, media, and–to some students–productivity worlds of 2018. It has yet to show any signs of losing the tremendous momentum it has gained, and with season 4 Battle Pass, a new version of the hit game released just days ago, more momentum is to come.