Let’s face it. It’s infiltrated, well, everything.
Fortnite Turns 1 Today, And We Can’t Believe It Either!
Yes, you read that correctly! The game which our children cannot stop playing on every screen, at any time, is turning 1 year old today. And as parents, we feel like it’s been a century…
We may roll our eyes but it is a pretty big deal. And even though we might curse Epic Games, the creators of the game, they’re actually brilliant. Fortnite has swept across the world into our lives, our children’s lives and gamers (and non-gamers) everywhere. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been amazed that a video game could become so popular. And just as I did with Pokemon Go, which spanned social, economic and demographic headlines, I’ve been wondering how it could be that Fortnite, which is such a niche thing being a video game, could become so prevalent across a number of socio-economical boundaries. And as it turns out, the underlying reason is actually pretty simple:
Anyone can play it.
This simple explanation is exactly why Fortnite is ingeniously able to gain popularity on many levels. And for those of you moms and dads who are saying “I still don’t get what it even is…”, here is a cheat sheet that explains everything pretty well. Don’t worry, I was right where you are (and honestly, I still don’t fully understand).
Fortnite Is “Easy” To Play
Relative to the player, the game is easy to play. The concept of the game is easy to understand, and young children are able to catch on quickly as long as they can use a device. Even if someone doesn’t battle inside of the game, they can run around in the game, meeting up with friends, or simply collect the cosmetic items, such as the skins for their characters, and watch them dance.
The makers of Fortnite hit it on the head by offering something for everyone in the game. Players can choose from a free Battle Royale (think: Hunger Games) or a paid Save the World mode, which is a survival game. Even the free version has a paid package called Battle Pass that simply gives the player the ability to make cosmetic upgrades to their character. There is a whole slue of kids (and adults) who only focus on the cosmetics of the game. Kids, teens and adults alike can agree that it is simple enough, yet still entertaining.
You Can Play Fortnite On Multiple Devices
Fornite isn’t only available on Xbox or even as just an app. Instead, the game is available across a number of devices including PS4, Xbox, PC and iOs devices like the iPhone and iPad (sorry Android-ers). Recently, changes were made to certain platforms on which you can switch from one to the other and still play on the same account. This easily available, multi-platform setup provides access to millions of users – 125 million to give you an idea of just how many. And with the constant access, on-the-go or at home, it’s no wonder that there are 3.4 million playing at any given time.
Fortnite is Free
Kinda. The majority of players are playing in Battle Royale mode, which is free. In this mode, you can still connect with your friends and play with them online. If someone gets hooked or really wants the upgrades, then they can pay, but players can fully enjoy the game and immerse in the culture with the free version.
The affordability of the game is a defining factor in its popularity. If there’s one thing that has transformed the gaming world from being such just a niche culture to introducing games as a social phenomena (remember, Pokemon Go), it’s the cost. Apps and downloads are free these days! There is almost always a free version. While the days of gamers waiting outside of GameStop and Wal-Mart to buy the next new console or game are still upon us, the number of people with access to free games on their computers, tablets, and smartphones is what makes their overall popularity soar.
Our Connected World
The last and cohesive factor of what makes Fortnite so popular is its sociability. Without a doubt, more people are playing it because more people are talking about it. Kids are telling their friends about it, and they can get it, too – its free! Heck, kids are telling anyone about it. Try to tell me you haven’t conversed with a kid in the last few months without them doing the “floss”. It’s kids’ new fidget habit – like a dance version of fidget spinners. I can no longer scroll through my Facebook feed without seeing something about Fortnite, some from parents both playing it themselves or complaining about it. It’s in the news! Beloved soccer players in the World Cup are celebrated this year with dances from the game.
And if you don’t understand the dances, neither do I! But it’s genius. The skins for the characters in the game, which are only cosmetic, each have a specific dance they do. Just like a new movie or actual game, Fornite campaigns different skins before they come out, hyping the release and creating a desire for it within players. Kids who play the game do the dances while just talking to each other. Teens record themselves doing the dances and Snapchat them or share them on Instagram. Celebrities are doing the dances, and a lot the aforementioned videos have gone viral. It’s the intertwining socialization of the game that sets it apart from other games. Pokemon Go came and went, and was even briefly going to “solve the obesity epidemic in kids”, but I think Fortnite will prevail with its brilliant utilization of social media viral-ability.