If you know anything about video games, you’ve almost certainly heard of fortnite. It’s one of the most popular multiplayer games in the world and can be played on game consoles, computers, phones and tablets. It’s also become a cultural phenomenon, with events such as concerts and film screenings drawing tens of millions of fans. Kids of all ages are obsessed with fortnite, but its hypnotic popularity has some parents worried. “My son is nine and he can’t stop playing,” says Sarah, the mother of one such child. “He’s so engrossed in it that he won’t even eat or sleep.”
Fortnite is a free-to-play online video game developed by Epic Games. It is available on game consoles (PlayStation, Xbox and Switch), computer platforms (Mac and Windows) and smartphones and tablets. Its most popular mode is called Battle Royale, in which up to 100 players drop into an island and compete in a last-person-standing competition. In addition to its core game, Fortnite offers a separate co-operative game mode called Save the World and a Creative Mode that gives players complete freedom to create their own worlds and battle arenas.
Each version of the game is updated with new plot and character elements, much like a television show or movie franchise. These updates are rolled out in season, with each season lasting about two months. This allows the game to continually expand without requiring new hardware. The latest season has included a giant robot invasion, an invading comet, and a crossover with the Avengers film series.
Unlike many other shooters and action games, fortnite doesn’t rely on gore or blood to attract players. Instead, it has a cartoonish look that appeals to younger gamers, who can play with friends in Duos, Trios and Teams modes. Its free-to-play model and availability on multiple platforms makes it an attractive option for families. And unlike rival battle royale games, such as PUBG and Apex Legends, there is no pay-to-win element: Every player starts each round with a random selection of weapons and gear, and they can earn more items by upgrading their Battle Pass.
As with other multiplayer games, fortnite has a chat function that allows players to communicate with other players through voice or on-screen text. Because of this, children may be exposed to inappropriate language or bullying, which is why the game is rated 12+ by PEGI.
The game’s massive popularity is not only a testament to its fun gameplay but also its ability to cross-promote other products and brands. In addition to the many concerts and film screenings organized by the game’s producers, Epic Games has partnered with several companies to promote their products through the platform. These partnerships often include exclusive skins and weapons that are only available in the game, as well as sponsored missions with real-life celebrities.
For example, the game’s creator, Epic Games, partnered with rapper Drake to host a live event in which the two played against each other. The event attracted more than 10 million viewers and generated more than $1 billion in revenue for the company.