'Fortnite' was the most important video game of this decade, and it will be for the next one too
- "Fortnite" has inspired a cultural phenomenon beyond that of most any other recent video game, with more than 250 million players worldwide.
- Epic Games' has the ability to understand and adapt to its huge audience, and "Fortnite" has provided a new model to which these kind of ongoing games can aspire.
- Epic has used the success of "Fortnite" as leverage to challenge the way the gaming business operates.
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In the hit-driven video game industry, few franchises grow large enough to become household names, and even fewer can remain popular enough to survive more than a few years. "Fortnite," however, has already surpassed both milestones to become one of the most influential video games in recent history.
The sandbox shooter created by North Carolina-based Epic Games has brought in more than 250 million registered players and reportedly generated no less than $2.4 billion in 2018. "Fortnite" is totally free to play, but players spend billions on in-game microtransactions and other rewards - a testament to "Fortnite's" ever-engaging weekly updates.
Outside of perhaps "Pokémon Go" or "Minecraft," few recent games have managed to reach the level of pop-culture ubiquity that "Fortnite" has enjoyed for the past two years. A star "Fortnite" player made the cover of ESPN The Magazine, and "Time's" list of 100 most influential people. Musicians and actors have been filming themselves playing "Fortnite," and the game even had a cameo in "Avengers: Endgame," the biggest movie of all time.
"Fortnite" itself is a living entity that changes at the whims of its creators and is built to suit the tastes of its incredibly broad audience. Epic Games' ability to understand and adapt with that huge audience is nothing short of impressive and "Fortnite" has provided a new model to which ongoing games can aspire. Epic works with an ecosystem of professionals gamers to keep the game at the forefront of the online conversation.
Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney said the success of "Fortnite" has helped the company gain "great economies of scale," which it has used to challenge the gaming business as a whole. The company has pressed industry giants like Sony into changing their tactics, and even launched its own digital storefront to redefine how video game publishers negotiate fees with online marketplaces.
Here's why "Fortnite" is the most influential game of the past decade, and the most important game to watch in the next one: