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Popular with celebrities and the rest of us alike, Fortnite: Battle Royale reminds us of how much gaming has changed, but what does modern gaming look like in the age of free-to-play, and what does it herald for the future?
With growing age comes the inevitability of younger generations finding the fun in new ways of gaming, classic first person shooters like Call of Duty and Halo, whilst still popular, have seemingly fallen behind the growing popularity of a variety of other games. The first of these games that comes to mind is Fortnite Battle Royale, which is seemingly unrestrained by age or economic barriers, its free to play and is enjoyed even on a professional level by kids aged 13 or under.
So, what can Fortnite tell us about the landscape of modern gaming? Heres my breakdown.
Fortnites success is worldwide, and its popularity has undoubtedly been fuelled by the interest it’s peaked with celebrities. Professional football players Antoine Griezmann and Deli All have both performed Fortnite inspired celebrations after scoring goals in their respective leagues. Moreover, a number of Tottenham players, including Tottenham Hotspurs and England striker Harry Kane, have been streaming games with popular twitch streamer Ninja, pulling in around 190,000 viewers. Even more astonishing is the stream collaboration of Ninja and Canadian rapper Drake, which peaked at 635,000 viewers, surpassing the previous non-tournament viewership record of 388,000.
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Whilst celebrities interacting with video games is not a totally new concept, it has never been this widespread, and is perhaps telling of the growing popularity of gaming in general, which has arguably shrugged off the nerdy and geeky stereotypes that have tainted it for generations.
Free and Easy
Developer and Publisher of Fortnite Battle Royale, Epic Games, has benefited hugely from an ‘easy to learn, hard to master’ style of combat. This kind of gaming experience has helped it overshadow what is arguably its predecessor, ‘PlayerUknowns’s Battlegrounds’, which whilst still being a battle royale style game, which is by no means a ‘pick up and play’ kind of game, and also costs £27.99.
This is where Fortnite Battle Royale has capitalised, it transcends economic barriers and the high costs of most games by being completely free to play, and naturally it has found its way in to the living rooms and front rooms (and also smart phones) of millions of people. It’s widespread popularity has allowed waiting times for games to be incredibly short, adding to the games unique sense of accessibility.
Despite being free to play, Fortnite Battle Royale does have a variety of in-game micro purchases, offering new dances and outfits among other things. However, Fortnite has succeeded here where many other games fail, by making all things purchasable cosmetic only, that is to say they do not affect the gameplay, meaning those buying cosmetic items are doing so simply out of love for the game.
Love and Attention
More than being a game popularised only by its players, Fortnite Battle Royale is game whose popularity and success can be largely credited to the attention it receives from its developers. Fortnite Battle Royale receives updates that are regular even by normal standards, with bug fixes and tweaks happening on nearly a weekly basis.
Moreover, new and exciting content is frequently added, including new map locations, new weapons and new game modes (most recently a collaboration with the Marvel Universe). In too many games, new content is not only charged at a high fee, but happens very irregularly, which can often leave a game feeling stale and forgotten. The developers of Fortnite Battle Royale are without a doubt raising the bar and setting a new standard on how a game and it’s fans should be treated. Other games like Overwatch are also credited with this kind success, by posting regular videos on their youtube channel of its developers discussing what they are working on within the game, and where they think the game is headed.
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Fortnite Battle Royale exists as not only the epitome of modern gaming, but as a template that future games can hopefully follow.
Buy and download Fortnite here!