‘Fortnite’ running its course

Highly popular game could be irrelevant by tomorrow


Artie Meyers

Artie Myers playing and winning a game of fortnite at his house on Wednesday, May, 2.

Gio Gaxiola, Times Staff

Many video games often start out as hot selling items, then fade into irrelevance. One game has pushed that myth to the brink. “Fortnite.”

This game has become highly popular over the last couple of months. It seems anyone and every one is playing this game. “Fortnite” celebrations have found their way into MLB highlight reels. Boston Red Sox Shortstop Xander Bogaerts does a “Fortnite” dance after each extra base hit. The whole Houston Astros outfield meet in centerfield and celebrate the final out with a Fortnite dance. According to PC Gamer, “Fortnite” now has an estimated 45 million downloads, with 3 million being everyday concurrent numbers. Those are high numbers for a game that is nearly a year old.

“Fortnite” is a “battle royale” game. You and 99 other players start off on a flying bus. The bus then flies over a huge map at a randomly generated direction. Players then decide when to jump out of the bus. When they land, it is a free for all.

In order to win, you must outlive the other 99 players who are trying to kill each other and you. This is one of the major problems in “Fortnite.” Too many players in one session. You can try to kill one player, then another player comes out of nowhere and kills both of you. While people say this makes the game more challenging and winning feel more rewarding, it is just one big nuisance.

The thing that sets “Fortnite” apart from other battle royal games is the materials and build system in the game. Players can harvest materials and use them to build walls, stairs, doors, and traps. The problem is people who spend hours building structures to become “campers.”

So how did “Fortnite” get so popular? The games developer Epic Games hit the jackpot with some clever luck and smart marketing strategies.

They first made the game “free” but in the beta phase, meaning gamers would be able to play the game; however, it was not totally finished and some players may have experienced bugs and glitches. This gave Epic Games free marketing and free game testers. Players would send reports to Epic Games on ways to fix its game, making it a brilliant strategy to save money, while working out the kinks in their game.

Epic Games’ stroke of luck came when pro athletes and celebrities began to play the game.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, Los Angeles Lakers Guard Josh Hart and Boston Celtics Guard Gordon Hayward are just a few of the high profile athletes who play this game. These athletes then live stream themselves playing this game and numerous fans tune into the stream, with the possibility of playing the same game as the pros on their favorite teams.

The most famous person to recently play Fortnite is the artist Drake. He live streamed with pro Fortnite player “Ninja” and NFL Pro Juju Smith Schuster. The stream generated more than 4 million concurrent watchers and “Fortnite’s” popularity skyrocketed.

The main problem with a game that generates popularity this quickly is it tends to get stale and lose player fanbase fast. All video games run their natural course of losing popularity. As someone who has been playing video games for more than 20 years, this game is no different.

By the time the game hits two years of release, the player count will die down significantly. Yes, they will keep adding in new guns, costumes and other game mechanics; however, people will lose interest. Gamers will be on the next big game of the moment. It is sad to think now; enjoy “Fortnite” while it’s still popular. It will be an irrelevant game by next year.