Categories: Technology

Fortnite: How The Free Video Game Has Become A Viral Sensation With Serious Staying Power

Fortnite isn’t just a game: it’s a global cultural phenomenon. In February, at any given time, parent company Epic Games reported that 3.4 million people around the world were playing. Top players, who live stream their games, can make up to $500,00 a month. But Fortnite’s success boils down to a simple understanding of what people want in a game — and how to make them want more of it.

Fortnite Is Free

Fortnite Battle Royale was inspired by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), an online, multiplayer battle royale game that was once the leading game of its type. But PUBG, which is nominated for Game of the Year in 2017, costs $30 to purchase — whereas Fortnite is free. There are no financial barriers to entry, welcoming in a new league of players who might otherwise have been deterred.

Though Fortnite is a free game, it hauled in nearly $300 million in April, per The Verge, double what it earned in February. It also earns up to $2 million a day on iOS, according to MarketWatch. Much of the revenue comes from microtransactions with V-Bucks, the in-game currency that players can purchase. No money, no problems. Mo’ money, more opportunities to buy cosmetic upgrades or battle passes, which bring their own rewards.

Perhaps, most importantly, there’s no punishment if you choose to keep your wallet closed — if you only treat Fortnite like a free game, you will still get a good experience.

It’s Accessible

Fortnite is available on PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One, and iOS — and is coming to Android this summer — meaning that a wide range of people can play it in a wide range of ways. Tweens on the bus to school, college students walking to class, young adults and parents looking for a break at the end of the day; they can all easily experience Fortnite.

Unlike PUBG, it traded violent, realistic graphics for cartoons, gore for multicolored llamas, making it more kid-friendly. The simple gameplay helps, too. While the mechanics are easy to understand, they’re difficult to master, fueling the desire for self-improvement and achieving greater feats — the ability to progress and experiment is what’s addicting, rather than just the game itself.

It’s Social

In the past, video games have drawn criticism over the promotion of anti-social behavior, but Fortnite is designed for interaction. Friends can team up in groups of two or four and can communicate via FaceTime or headset to strategize. It stimulates social interaction, as well as creating an offline fan base of people of all ages and backgrounds. Gamers become a part of something bigger, a part of a world where the joy doesn’t necessarily lie in winning, but in the creativity, critical thinking and community that each new game promises.

Lead image via YouTube

Kim Bussing

Kim Bussing is a writer and editor who covers lifestyle, finance, entertainment, technology, and business for Knew Money. She is passionate about discovering new trends and helping demystify the nuances of finance.

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