The online videogame Fortnite Battle Royale was launched just a year ago in September 2017. Since then the game had amassed 125 million active players by June and made US$1.2 billion (A$1.6 billion) for the developer, Epic Games. It has also been linked to 200 divorces and a case of aggravated harassment where a 45-year-old man threatened to kill an 11-year-old boy after losing to him in the game.
Love it or hate it, the question begs: How has Epic Games created a game with such enormous social, economic and psychological impact?
Fusing elements from recent hits such as Minecraft, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Overwatch, the game is deceptively simple: up to 100 players are placed in a constantly shrinking environment, and the objective is to be the last person (or team) standing.
Think Hunger Games - or the Japanese dystopian thriller film from which the genre gets its namesake, Battle Royale - and you’re not too far off.
Fortnite’s success rests on three principles: accessibility, sociality and spectacle.
The game is completely free to play and, as of August 2018, it’s available on all major platforms, from consoles to phones to PCs and Macs.
It’s very simple to play: stay alive, and if something moves, shoot it. It can also be played in very short bursts. The average match goes for 20 minutes or so.
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