The Most Important Video Game on the Planet
How Fortnite became the Instagram of gaming
https://medium.com/new-york-magazine/the-most-important-video-game-on-the-planet-c26988a8f497 Jan 11 2019,Brian Feldman
Every number released in conjunction with Fortnite is staggering, even within the context of a $137 billion industry. On the same day as its Fortnite Pro-Am tournament at E3, the video-game industry’s largest convention, the game was released for the Nintendo Switch, and within 24 hours it had been downloaded more than 2 million times. Analysts estimate that Fortnite is currently raking in more than $300 million a month, and has made its maker, Epic Games, more than $1.2 billion since its battle royale mode launched in late September.
Fortnite is virtually identical on every platform, and players can move from their PlayStation to their phone and back without missing a beat. Milligan first heard about the game back in September. “It was the next new game, like when Minecraft came out, but way more popular.”
The cadence of a Fortnite game is that nothing is happening and then, very suddenly, everything is happening. The game has three main modes: solo (every player for themselves), duos (teams of two), and squads (teams of three or four), but there are consistently around 100 players in every session.
Even when kids aren’t playing Fortnite, they’re talking about Fortnite or finding ways to profit from it.
Video games pioneered the dopamine-rush cycle. Using bright graphics and sound effects to make players feel continual accomplishment, arcade games were honed to make players feel like they needed to feed in just one more quarter over and over again — slot machines that kept people entranced without ever having to pay out. The addictive core of video-gaming never went away, even as games became more complicated: Every win, every high score, every 100 percent completion, every secret and Easter egg was a chance for a little rush of accomplishment and satisfaction.
And then mobile products learned to do the same thing. Give people goals, reward them with flashes of color, and you could entrance them into something resembling addiction. This was called, tellingly and unsurprisingly, “gamification”: Treat every app and every activity as a video game, with scores, prizes, and leaderboards. Snapchat rewarded users who talked every day with “streaks”; the exercise app Strava allowed you to compete with other joggers and earn badges; Foursquare turned the entire world into a game of king of the hill.
The process has come full circle. Fortnite is a gamified video game.
more on FortNite in this IMS blog