Fortnite has now been out for a little over two years. That’s quite a long time for any game to maintain the popularity that Epic Games’ Battle Royale has kept up. Averaging almost 150 million players a month, it’s amazing that such a repetitive game mode can maintain such popularity. Especially over such a long period. So why has Fortnite prevailed where most games fall? Well, in short, the answer is simple. Money, updates, and nine-year-olds.
To Understand the Present You Must First Understand the Past
Part of the reason why Epic can maintain the popularity of its game is derived from its creation. Fortnite’s original, attractive cartoonish design is different. It has acted as a magnet to players in search of something different from the usual ‘trying-to-be-real’ graphics of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and other popular games. It also has an appeal to a range of ages. With its child-friendly visuals, attracting millions of pre-teens. It also acts as a difficult challenge for older players. It’s pretty much universally playable. Even my Grandparents have played it.
It also helps that the game is free. The fact that you’re not faced with the painful problem of whether to buy a game your friends are playing means that you can download it and then simply hop into a squad match. Easy. That means rather than having to awkwardly ask parents for your fourth game this month, or consult your bank before buying the game, it can be downloaded without care. But that’s only the first part of the Fornite formula of success.
It’s actually fun and kind of addictive. After you’ve downloaded this Fortnite game the internet and your friends have kept going on about, you find the game is engaging. You want to get to the top 25. Then you want to get to the top 10. And now you want to win. As the game is the same, in setting and design, it means that you and your friends can divulge experiences with each other. It encourages social interaction. The fact you can also quite easily share clips, which then evolve into streaming and YouTube, means the game spiraled into a loop of growth. It exploded with popularity thanks to all these factors.
Is Fortnite Dead?
Fortnite still has over 150 million monthly players. Even as of August 2019. It’s not dead. AAA games, like Call of Duty and Battlefield, can only dream of these numbers. (But No Mans Sky Beyond has the potential to rival this growth with its new update). Although, it is quite obviously losing interest. It’s been on a constant decline in searches on the internet since its late September 2018 peak. Then only briefly peaking when a new season is released. Just like its internet searches, the player base is equally consistently falling. But this is a very gradual descent. Though, nonetheless, it is decent. And slowly Fortnite is approaching its endgame.
Why? Well, that’s thanks mainly thanks to time and the result of this combined with the same game mode and the same map, over and over. Boredom. Surprisingly, a game with such a simple, singular game mode has grown to become the biggest game ever. But finally, boredom is setting in. This is partly down to the fact that the game isn’t being updated as much as it was back in late 2017/ early 2018, which means that the game is becoming stale. Similarly to Minecraft in the mid-2010s, the developers are becoming afraid to change the game. A change could upset the player base, leading to a developer’s greatest fear – a lack of interest. Which ironically, the game is falling into anyway, much like Minecraft.
And on the topic of Minecraft, its arrival back from the nether has meant that thousands of Fortnite players are returning to the blocky phenomenon. Down to the fact that internet culture has taken a turn back down nostalgic routes, Minecraft is absorbing Fortnite player base – kind of like when Fortnite was taking PUBG players. But PUBG survived and certainly isn’t dead. So, therefore, Fornite won’t die either.
Why Fortnite Just Can’t Die
Although the player base is slowly dwindling, it is being reinvigorated. Probably most importantly, Fortnite took the media by storm in July, with a 16-year-old taking the biggest reward for any competition in history – $3 million. As a result, many returned to the game, sparked onwards by the media. But rather ingeniously, Epic Games, had its tenth season, Fortnite Season X, planned right after this huge event. Therefore, the game reignited some of its peak-2018 standards, avoiding the game-ending path they were on.
They also changed the gameplay of the Battle Royale, from purely guns to some huge Pacific Rim inspired giant robots, leading to another way to try and win the game, as well as another target for players. But what the main problem is the fact that the map is similar to what it was when the game mode released in Summer 2017. Though there are small changes, they aren’t enough, which is one of the reasons people are becoming bored.
Although, in an attempt to revive some nostalgia and older players back into the game, they reintroduced Dusty Depot. A fan favorite from Seasons 1-4, which caused a degree of disagreement when it was destroyed as a result of a meteorite.
As a result of the millions that the developers raked in at the game’s peak, they’ll likely put it back into the game, to avert the game’s death. Just like the $3 million cash prize. Therefore the game will remain a hit for a long time yet. It also helps that once every few months they can update the game with a new season, so inevitably they’ll have small peaks coinciding with these updates. Though, Fortnite still has its trump card. As it’s still early access, it’s yet to be released. So when Fortnite is at its most dire state in terms of its player count, they’ll likely drop this release to gain players back.
To Infinity, and Beyond?
Even with the full release, and with new seasons and the millions that Epic Games have to invest into the game, Fortnite won’t live forever. But it will still live a very long time. Fortnite will retain its core player base. Which, like PUGB and CSGO, leads to a game that will probably live a very long time. Interest is falling. But its also obvious that Fortnite just can’t die.
What are your thoughts on Fortnite? Why do you think this game hasn’t completely fallen in popularity yet? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to stay tuned to The Nerd Stash to keep yourself updated on the ever-changing Battle Royale genre.
Callum is an avid writer, not just of gaming articles, but of short stories and scripts. Besides gaming, he enjoy travelling and trying new things.