Trends as far as communicating through games come and go. Perhaps the first major platform release that defined socialization as a key aspect of the gaming experience was The Sims, which was first released in 2000. The game centered around building your characters in a unique manner and interacting with other NPCs (non-playable characters.) Nearly a decade after it’s release, nearly every project released incorporates customization and socialization as a key factor of the game. There is no better example of this in recent memory than Fortnite.
Fortnite, which was released in 2017 through Epic Games, has grown into a cultural phenomenon that has surpassed just the digital story mode. Fortnite has evolved into a social meetup place, a messaging service and virtual gathering spot for millions of tweens, teens and some adults. The attraction of being free-to-play along with offering daily updates has made the game a hit sensation. Wherever youth trends go, business is quick to follow. The application nets a monthly revenue of $200 million dollars a month, mainly from the sale of skins, victory dances and power ups. These are all ways for players to express themselves and share their unique spin on the game with global peers. Many big brands like Nike, Marvel and the NFL have tapped into the market by offering sponsored gear.
The biggest fear that creators and investors of games face is the slump in interest as participants navigate to a newer video game. However, statistics back up the contrary. The National Research Group found that two thirds of current players are playing the game more this year than last. The astonishing statistic is how long players are on Fortnite for. Younger demographics are reported on average to spend a quarter of their free time on the game. Beyond the massively popular Battle Royale mode and combative game play is the social aspect that encourages young people to continue to pick up the controller. Players are reported as saying the game allows them to escape the pressures of everyday life in an immersive and inclusive community.
The game style is also a factor in Fortinite’s sustained success as the most popular gaming platform out currently. 100 players join the Battle Royal and only one wins. What does this teach players? That it’s okay to fail. Compared to Instagram or Snapchat, where wins are constantly highlighted, Fortnite not only allows failure, it encourages it. Some experiences in the game can’t even be measured by wins or losses. EDM musician Marshmello put on a digital performance in the game for 10 million fans. Nowadays in an era that is defined by immersive experiences, every brand must find ways to entertain, engage and find ways to have its users socialize as authentic as possible.