Article: Fortnite Is the Future, but Probably Not for the Reasons You Think
Author: Matthew Ball
- – Fortnite’s revenue is large but not unprecedented, especially if you include China.
- – Free to play is nothing new. Also, other free to play games are cheaper to develop and maintain.
- – Cross Platform games already exist. Though Fortnite’s success convincing Sony to be a part of this was rather amazing.
- – Having 200MM registered accounts, 5MM active players and another 4MM via stream watching their season six live finale is significant.
- – Epic has other successful games, and it seems likely that the Battle Royale pivot was planned, not accidental.
Common thought is that without a defined story/character IP that Fortnite might not have longevity.
In terms of average revenue per user per year, Fortnite beats the four major social media giants combined. This comparison is interesting because the platform has become somewhat of a social square where friends and families meet up and play from one to one and a half hours per day, vs thirty minutes for Snapchat or Instagram.
Some challenges to Unreal are a major competitor in Unity, the fact that most major publishers don’t use it, and that cloud based gaming could drastically reduce the value of a multi platform engine like Unreal.
The Epic games store becomes more powerful when you consider that Fortnite has given them over 200MM accounts. They now have a really broad reach they didn’t have before.
Perhaps the most interesting take is if you think about Fortnite in the context of Sweeney’s desire to make a virtual universe where users have the ability to pay, sell, and buy, and there’s a real economy where Epic’s goal is to facilitate this, not obscenely profit directly from it.
Marshmello (a top 10 DJ) held a live concert entirely inside Fortnite that was attended by more than 10MM accounts, with millions more watching on streaming services.
Fortnite is already a social hub. It’s monetization is based on identity (avatars, skins, cosmetics)
They’ve had in game events such as Thanos from the Avengers, NFL jerseys, or Wreck It Ralph. Here the fact that Fortnite doesn’t have an IP is powerful. You wouldn’t be able to do this in Warcraft.
Having a multi platform capability, and a somewhat open situation to have multiple “tenants” to their world means they could start the Metaverse right here and right now.
One thing not mentioned in the article is that because Unreal is free to use, and taught in many curriculums means that in just a few years there will be an entire generation of Fortnite (and Epic) fans that will be extremely well versed in their engine. This could increase the pressure of the major publishers to use these engines to speed up development times and decrease costs.