Fortnite, the game that is turning non-gamers into gamers, is sweeping the web and quickly becoming the next Minecraft…
Fortnite has become a phenomenon, raking in $223 million in March alone, according to Superdata. The game is breaking records, building a community, and taking over the internet with its fandom culture. The New Yorker reports that over 3 million players have been on the game at a time, and it has an estimated 60 million downloads.
But fans aren’t just playing; they’re consuming content from all angles. There are 200,000 viewers watching streams about it on Twitch “at any given time” and it recently broke a platform record when Drake, rapper Travis Scott, NFL player JuJu Smith-Schuster, and player Ninja played together to draw in 630,000 concurrent streams, smashing Twitch’s previous record of 388,000—according to TechCrunch. Even the resulting memes went viral. Not to mention that the game is gearing up to take over the rising industry of esports (The Verge reports that Fortnite had its first big tournament this year). Numbers alone should convince companies that Fortnite presents a massive marketing opportunity they don’t want to miss.
The game itself is surprisingly complicated compared to other hits with its reach (like Angry Birds). Fortnite incorporates elements from Minecraft (which also had a ripple effect across youth culture)—but then adds a third-person shooter spin to up the competition. One hundred players are air-dropped via a school bus onto an island, where they build as fast as they can to protect themselves from other players. Once they run into another player, whoever shoots to kill first stays in the game. One reason the game is so addictive is that it rolls out in seasons. Every two months, a new season starts with “new plot and game elements” to keep experienced players hooked and give new players a chance to start fresh.
But Fortnite is catching fire for reasons beyond the gameplay. Here are 4 things that brands need to know:
We already know that esports as a whole is quickly converting young consumers to care about video games. Gone are the days of dingy arcades because not only are we in the midst of the rise of the Millennial geek (being uncool is decidedly cool), but teens today grew up with games—and don’t understand why it would be considered nerdy in the first place. Just take the fact that school teachers are struggling to keep kids from playing Fortnite in their classrooms. Anecdotes aside, stats back up the new trend, too: BTIG found that over one-fifth of Fortnite players weren’t so-called “gamers” when they started playing, reports Barron’s Next.
Influencer marketing is a piece of every modern brand’s marketing strategy that can’t be overlooked—and influencers from Fortnite have a huge (and largely untapped) fan base of young consumers. If you have to memorize just one name, make it Tyler Blevins AKA Ninja. The rising Fortnite star has over ten million YouTube subscribers, and brings in over half a million dollars each month via his live streaming sessions. His Influencer Effect rivals celebrities across industries, and he recently ranked above every athlete in the world in terms of “social interactions.” Christiano Ronaldo came in second place. Needless to say, his young viewers pay him rapt attention and getting a spot on his screen is a direct path to them.
The best Fortnite players aren’t lone wolves; instead, they collaborate with friends to rise through the ranks and survive longer than the rest. Co-viewing during the game is common: some prop a phone up for a Facetime or Skype call while playing or connect on console systems. We know that teens’ friendships are increasingly created and fostered online, and Fortnite is one way they like to hangout. They’re also engaging with other media surrounding the game, from Twitch streams to memes and more. Like we said earlier, video games are making their way into the mainstream. The game even made its way into viral promposals this year.
4. The game crosses platform boundaries (plus it’s free!)
One reason for the game’s massive reach is its availability. Not only can it be downloaded for free on major consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but it’s on desktop and more recently, iOS. Besides being available to play, fans are streaming it on any device that has Twitch or YouTube (these days, about all that leaves off is a record player). The game and its massive viewing numbers demonstrate the new ways the Post-TV Gen is consuming their content—and where brands need to be.
To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.