Yes, Fortnite is Going to Be Gigantic!
Breaking news: Fortnite is a big big deal! Of course, this is hardly breaking news to almost anyone who is parenting pre-teen or teenage boys. Nor is it breaking news to those following the recreational habits of professional athletes and popular musicians. But, good to see that more and more of the mainstream media are beginning to catch up on this cultural tsunami.
Beginning to catch up? Read (for instance) this week’s announcement that gaming superstar Ninja raked in a cool $10 million over the last 12 months via his various Fortnite streams, activities and celebrity appearances. Despite these impressive earnings, his efforts to teach New York City crowds to floss on New Year’s Eve fell somewhat short of the mark. Maybe Ninja’s tutoring abilities will have improved by the time he gets to SXSW Gaming in March.
That the Wall Street Journal is now covering this game (“How Fortnite Triggered an Unwinnable War Between Parents and Their Boys”) is another mark of its massive influence and its heavyweight monetary status. While this content is only available to WSJ subscribers, the four-minute video that accompanies this piece is both free and compelling.
But for my money, the most interesting reporting on this phenomenon in the last few weeks is the “Fortnite Isn’t a Game, It’s a Place” piece that appeared in Charged on December 21. In this essay, Owen Williams argues that “where-we-dropping-boys” has actually become the new social media:
“We get on to play, but we’re really just hanging out. Fortnite has built-in voice chat so it’s seamless to just jump on voice, talk about the day, life, whatever is going on, without even really realizing it. We’re playing the game together, dropping from the Battle Bus every ten minutes to start a new round, but what keeps us there is that we’re all spending time together. I’ve probably spent more time talking to my friends on the other side of the world in Fortnite’s voice chat than I have calling them in the last four years since I moved overseas.”
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.