The Fortnite Craze
Unless you have been living in complete isolation from society for the past six months, you have definitely heard of the newest video game to take over the gaming community. All around the world, kids and adults of all ages are obsessing over this popular, free-to-play Battle Royale type game which can be played on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC. A Battle Royale game is a game in which many players all fight until one remains the lone victor. The popular Battle Royale game I am talking about is Fortnite, of course, but you already knew that. Fortnite was developed and published by Epic Games, which is based in Cary, and was released in late September of 2017. The game had been in the works for many years, some sources say as long as a decade, as Epic Games first revealed the project way back in 2011. However, at that point in time, Fortnite was planned to be a much different game than what it has become today. It was originally supposed to be a zombie survival game in which players stock up resources to build forts and protect themselves against the undead forces, using different types of weapons and guns to kill monsters and stay alive. This game mode, known as “Save the World,” is still a large part of the Fortnite game and is being updated frequently by Epic, but it has not amassed the same popularity that the game’s Battle Royale mode has, which is probably due to it being slower paced and not free to play. Sometime during the rapid increase in popularity of a Battle Royale type game called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (commonly referred to as PUBG), Epic Games saw the opportunity to use their own gaming engine to create a Battle Royale mode in Fortnite. With Battle Royale games just starting to become popular amongst gaming fans, Fortnite’s free-to-play Battle Royale mode took off quickly and soon passed PUBG in popularity. Teenagers and children of all ages started playing Fortnite with their friends without having to pay a dime, and soon enough, everyone in the gaming community became aware of Fortnite’s increasingly growing presence.
While a new video game becoming extremely popular amongst gamers practically overnight is not unheard of, it has been a long time since a game with such a simple, non-original concept swept through the community so drastically and quickly. For example, last October I remember a friend telling me about a new game called Fortnite that I just had to play with him. I kind of just brushed it off without thinking about it, since friends were always recommending new games to me that I would never end up checking out. However, it was not long before my other friends began playing Fortnite as well, so I figured I would try it out since it was a free game, after all. I enjoyed the game very much and I quickly noticed that everyone else around me did, too. I would hear people talking about Fortnite in the hallways, at a friend’s house, or even at a gas station. I assumed that Fortnite was just become popular among local gamers who had heard about it from their friends because it was relatively new and unheard of, and I figured it was only so popular because it was a free game and that people would get bored of it soon enough. Boy was I wrong. Fortnite started dominating social media with memes and funny in-game clips. Twitch streamers started racking up viewers and money just by playing Fortnite. Almost every person I knew who played video games became an avid player of Fortnite, unless they were already fans of its competitor PUBG. I went to visit my family in Massachusetts for the first time in almost two years, and I could not have been talking to my little cousin for more than thirty minutes before he brought me to his room to play Fortnite. It was at this time that I realized the Fortnite craze was here, it was global, and it was not going anywhere anytime soon.
For those who do not play video games or understand why people play them so much, the Fortnite craze makes about as much sense as the metric system does to Americans. They do not understand why people would waste so much of their time playing some video game that does not benefit your life in the long run. While these Debbie Downers have some good points, they really just have to put themselves in other peoples’ shoes. Video games are huge in this day and age, and a lot of kids and teens spend a lot of their time playing them when they have nothing else to do at their houses. Fortnite Battle Royale was released at a time when battle royale games were growing in popularity and Epic Games capitalized on this by creating a fun, easy, free game with an enjoyable and addicting concept that already worked so well in other games. Gamers love the idea that everyone plays on the same map with the same loot and only the best player can come out on top, and even if you do not win a game, you can start up another in just a few seconds. It is a game that can keep players entertained for hours on end even though they are just playing the same game on the same map every time, but it is the fact that each match is so unpredictable that keeps players coming back. Another big factor that helped to increase the game’s popularity is its seasonal Battle Pass. Although the game is free to play, you can purchase this pass for roughly ten dollars for cosmetic gear for you character and other personalization items, but none of them can give a player an in-game advantage. Epic Games is constantly updating the cosmetics and game map as well, so Fortnite always has new and fresh features added to the game.
Overall, Fortnite’s excellent marketing, addicting matches, Epic Games’ continuous updates, and the fact that it is free to play all combine to create a perfect storm, and I am not talking about the literal storm in the game; I am talking about the extreme hype around that game that does not show any signs of dying down. With the new season four Battle Pass having been released just a few weeks ago, bringing with it huge map changes and new cosmetic items, Fortnite is as big right now as it has ever been, and it seems the sky is the limit for Epic Games.