Fortnite Battle Royale’s Stranglehold on the Gaming Industry - and Its Players

Fortnite Battle Royale is the biggest video game in the world. With over 250 million registered users and tens of millions of people playing every month, it has swept the rug out from under the zeitgeist. Besides breaking the traditional shooter into various components with an innovative building mechanic, its content is being constantly updated, with items being added and removed on an almost weekly basis by the game’s developer, Epic Games. Pair the game’s content with its developer’s knack for seamless brand integration and you can see why Epic is valued at over $15 billion. That figure will likely get bigger in time, as the potential uses for Unreal Engine, the engine that powers the game, are only expected to expand.

Fortnite

Fortnite Battle Royale (BR) is an alternative game mode Save the World, which is the actual main game of the Fortnite franchise. However, within weeks of Fortnite BR being released in July of 2017, the game had far surpassed the success of Save the World accruing millions of players. What helped this popularization was the streaming of the game by players like TSM Myth, MrGrimmz, and of course, Ninja. Nearly two years after this initial success, Twitch viewership has gone up by insane numbers. In 2017, there were 355 billion minutes watched collectively by Twitch audiences. In 2018, that number reached 560 billion. In 2019, over 299 billion minutes have been logged already, and we’re barely halfway through the year. To say that all of Twitch’s success is due to Fortnite would be ludicrous. But it definitely helped initially draw new viewers in.

Fortnite Battle Royale has also helped launch hundreds of new careers in the form of pro players. Esports organizations like FaZe, Liquid, Secret, and many more have each signed dozens of players trying to establish themselves in the competitive field. Some were veteran players from the days of Call of Duty and H1Z1, but many are new to the competitive gaming scene. Considering Epic Games has invested over $100 million into their competitive gaming prizes in 2018 alone, it’s easy to see why so many young players are eager to get into the game. Many are below the age of eighteen, such as the twelve-year-old FaZe H1ghSky1, who was recently signed to the famous esports organization. The legality (let alone the ethics) of FaZe’s decision to sign such a young player is questionable at best, but H1ghSky1 is hardly the only young Fortnite Battle Royale Player. TSM Slappie, Secret Mongraal, NRG MrSavageM – all are under the age of sixteen, and making thousands of dollars playing in tournaments for professional organizations – that’s what the TSM, Secret, and NRG before their gamer tags are. Many have (presumably) signed contracts in exchange for representation, and if you haven’t heard about the Tfue/Banks feud regarding their contract, you’re in the minority.

But besides legality and the ethics of young people getting into professional gaming, it’s important to note that these players are being watched by thousands of young, impressionable fans. Parents are lamenting their child skipping out on dinners, homework, playdates, and sometimes even school because of their obsession with the game. Many are saying they’ve never seen a video game affect their child the way that this one has. But one can’t blame the game for being too playable, right? Well, considering Fortnite Battle Royale is still being played by millions of players every day, someone is going to need to shoot some blame somewhere, fast.

If you decide to emulate the actions of anyone shown in the following video, rugged computers are advised. If it is not durable, the device will not survive.

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