Fortnite: The Best Free-Game of All Time?

With an estimated 3.4 million players worldwide, recently including Drake, it is safe to say that Fortnite: Battle Royale, as a free game offered to gamers on PC, PS4 and Xbox, has enjoyed success beyond the Developers’ wildest dreams. With cross-system online play recently enabled, Fortnight has the gaming industry paused for thought. How has a “free” game performed so well?

Assassins Creed: Origins as the 10th installment in the, what is universally accepted to be a relatively successful series, produced by Ubisoft. When the game was released in October 2017, sales performed beyond expectations, with launch sales recording as double that of Ubisoft’s previous game launch, Syndicate. Developers were especially proud of the fact that Digital downloads had risen to 35%, from Syndicate’s 15% of total sales figure. However, the game’s all time high figure in terms of online players stands at just under 42,000 (41,541). Fortnite eclipses these figures on a bad day, so why is the game so popular?

“It’s just crazy. The fact that it’s a free game, as well. There’s so many different types of battles, and it’s always last man standing. You can easily sit down to play it and before you know it, it’s been hours”, exclaimed one gamer. Fortnite’s recent release on iOS saw it break new records, becoming the best-selling app in 13 countries within 12 hours of release, also ranking in the top five best selling apps in a further 12. Fortnite is currently the world’s best-selling app, edging out YouTube.

Fortnite has seemed to exploit a gap in the gaming market. The co-op sandbox survival genre of the game, mixed with a colorful, almost fantasy like design has rarely been seen before. The recent live-stream from popular YouTuber Ninja featuring Drake exposed the game to mainstream popular culture, something we do not see very often, with the only real exceptions being Grand Theft Auto and FIFA. Fortnite has been catapulted into the public image at just the right time, with the introduction of cross-platform play between PC/iOS/Consoles expected to only expand the game’s player-base.

However, as of yet, Sony and Microsoft are yet to agree to cross-platform play between Xbox and PS4, something desired by gamers across the World. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney however, had promising words to say about the prospects of the cross-over: “Games have become social experiences in the same way that Facebook or Twitter have, and these experiences only really make sense if gamers can communicate with all of their friends. For Sony and Microsoft to support their customers well they have to be open to all their customer’s friends – their real-world friends – otherwise they’re breaking up real-world social groups. Like kids in school have their friends, and do you expect this platform schism to divide them into two separate groups that can’t play together? No. It’s got to come together now. That one remaining barrier will inevitably come down.”

            A petition to allow cross-play between the PS4 and Xbox currently has just under 23,000 signatures. It will surely only be a matter of time before Sony and Microsoft give in to the pressure and finally connect the Fortnite world.



Vikash Patel.

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