It’s the same situation all the time isn’t it?
Something new enters the market and everyone’s attention is captured, at least for a while
It happened with the first arcade game a few decades back, it happened with Pokemon Go in 2016 and although both examples given are still successful in their own rights, they stop making headlines. Very often, attention fizzles out, something shinier is launched and heads swivel the opposite direction. We’re seeing a very similar phenomenon this year but this time though, it seems like developers Epic Games are on to something.
New usually (though not always), equates to better. You see it across the gaming industry, from the umpteenth The Sims relaunch, to the casino industry in its attempt to lure in new players with new offerings, to a re-invention of a much-loved board or card game. But what is Fortnite’s basic and most successful ingredient, the one that makes more players go back to it again and again? Well, seeing as I am one of those players, I can easily confirm that the ingredient does not exist. Or rather, that it is a multitude of ingredients that makes me put away my phone very reluctantly to join in the party I am physically at. If you would join me for a few moments, you’ll see why.
Fortnite is free. And I am not saying, free until you reach a certain level. It is free free. Forever free. You won’t suddenly be faced with a paywall urging you to pay if you wish to proceed or risk losing all you’ve built so far. It is completely free. How does Epic Games make enough money to pledge $100 million in tournament prize money (no, I’m not joking)? You can buy small upgrades. You can buy a new skin for your player, a new dance routine, weapons, a battle pass. But essentially, you can keep playing for free – and still not look too shabby. Sure, you may not look as cool as some of the other players around but hey, you’ve learnt to accept yourself as you are.
Fortnite is colourful. And I’m not speaking about great graphics and sharp edges. I’m talking about it being fun, something different to other games available right now which may look amazingly real but, on the flip-side, will also be as drab as it gets in our everyday real life. Fortnite explores the boundaries of creativity, offering colourful scenarios that evoke cartoonish memories. Powerpuff Girls. Dexter’s Laboratory. Spongebob. It does not look cheap however – it’s on the right side of brash and just a bit quirky. It embraces the notion that games should always appeal to the child within us first and foremost. It is probably that alone which makes it so worthwhile.
Fortnite is cross-platform. Which means you can play it on your iPhone and battle against someone on PC and someone on XBOX, simultaneously (there are talks that Fortnite will also bring down the barrier between Sony and XBOX But more on that later). This is quite revolutionary, even though, if you stop to think about it, you’ll realise this should have been explored eons ago. Essentially, there’s no stopping you from taking the battle to Aunt Georgie’s backyard. Take a battery pack with you because that is literally the only things that could stop you. Unless you get killed in the game by an axe made of balloons.
Fortnite is only just begun. EA games have recently said that Fortnite is good for the gaming industry as a whole because it is introducing gaming to a whole new sector of demographic that had previously never gamed. It is user-friendly, it is free and it is also attractive in a number of other ways, ensuring it paves a path to a larger slice in the population pie. This is definitely good news for everyone in the industry but most of all to gamers who will see their favourite games enhanced, rewritten and improved continuously. If you still haven’t made up your mind about Fortnite, then perhaps it is time you give it a (free) go. There’s only so much you can put into words when it comes to this game.
The future of gaming is bright, perhaps, some might say, just as bright as Fortnite itself.