Imagine a dystopian world where 100 people are fighting to survive. Using anything they find from weapons to resources, they ward off other survivors and avoid an impending storm of death.
Now, picture the same world but with the participants jumping out of a flying bus, using gliders to land and pickaxes of various sizes and designs to obtain resources to build forts to help them survive.
Welcome to the world of “Fortnite: Battle Royale,” a free-to-play free-for-all style game developed by Epic Games, released in September 2017.
Though an explosion in popularity and hype has helped Fornite ascend to the top of gaming lists everywhere, I believe that the hype won’t last for a couple reasons.
First, the popularity it currently has is unsustainable, likely leading to an implosion.
When the calendar hit 2018, Fortnite’s popularity skyrocketed. It started when NBA players played it on off-days or in their hotel rooms, before or after games.
With players posting how well they did (or didn’t do) on social media, it was only a matter of time before more celebrities hopped on the bus.
The game received a massive boost when rappers Drake and Travis Scott and football player Juju Smith-Schuster teamed up with popular Twitch streamer Ninja to play the game.
That stream broke Twitch’s record of most viewed Twitch stream with over 635,000 people tuning in concurrently to watch.
With popular celebrities using their influence, the fact that the game is free and the developers are continually updating the game.
However, once Drake and fellow rappers and NBA players jump off the Fortnite bandwagon, their fans will follow suit and and it and move on to the next popular thing, be it sneakers or apparel and the like.
Secondly, it can be considered a fad, following the trend that Pokemon Go most recently showed in 2016. When the game first released in July 2016, Pokemon Go was bringing in about $35 million dollars from 30 million users in its first month, according to mobilesyrup.com. In September of that year, that number had dropped to 5 million.
Nowadays, no one talks about Pokemon Go because its fallen out of style and is deemed “not cool” anymore mainly due to the fact that the developers didn’t really make a “full” game. Instead, there was only an assortment of base features with nothing of note coming out during the games initial lifecycle.
That’s the trajectory I see with Fortnite because even though both games are seemingly incomparable games, they’re similar because they could be seen as a fad. It will soon implode on itself and self-destruct due to the fact that fans will keep wanting more than what the developer can give and not live up to the hype it created.
Lastly, with its move to mobile via its new phone app, the infrastructure probably won’t be able to handle the strain put upon it by people trying to join in on the hype.
With the game released on mobile, how will that affect their infrastructure? Having that many players on at any given time, be it on console, mobile and PC will greatly decrease the game’s performance and will turn away some, as the game will be overloaded with people trying to get in on the hype.
For example, I have both a PC and a MacBook and granted, they aren’t the most technologically advanced pieces of hardware on the market, but for college students who don’t have thousands of dollars to pay for gaming PCs.
Games are laggy, with numerous games ending with me attempting to eliminate a player, only for them to one-shot me into oblivion, regardless of how many times I shot them. Furthermore, Fornite games that I played on the aforementioned platforms have a tendency to cause my PC and Mac to stutter and hang, something that doesn’t happen when I play other games, such as Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.
With more and more players logging in and trying to play, this can only accentuate the current problems.
Also of note, the game is starting to be filled with pro-gamers, who play the game for a living. Because these players have to be extremely good to maintain their subscriptions, donations and partnerships with advertisers, the primary ways that streamers make money, these pros are head and shoulders above the gamers who don’t have time to play for multiple hours a day.
That will slowly weed out the casual players and soon only players that have put in an enormous amount of time in the game will be left playing as the competition will be too difficult for the average gamer.
Although there are many good things going for Fortnite right now, the game’s popularity will soon wane, due to the aforementioned reasons.
Could I be wrong? Of course.
That being said, I’ve seen enough fads like this that follow the same trend to know that Fortnite: Battle Royale’s popularity will probably last a couple more fortnights and it will only be a matter of time before the game will be swept away by the storm that it created.