Fortnite's Formula for Success
July 13, 2018 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Fortnite is the most important video game on the planet. Fortnite is successful like no other game before it for a few reasons. This is interesting even to non-gamers. The NYMag article explains the technical and social reasons for the game's popularity.

Technical reasons:
* It is cheap and free on some platforms.
* It is entirely portable and transferable between devices (kids can start the day playing on their console then play on a mobile device at school).
* Players can interact with players on different consoles and platforms as well.
* Fortnite is built by Epic on Epic's Unreal Engine, which is code licensed to a variety of developers. Fortnite thus has a sort of home court advantage in leveraging the code.
* Fortnite took the best of gameplay of other games but gave it a friendly cartoon-ish look, not unlike Ingress and PokemonGo.
* The gameplay is a combination of harvesting a la Minecraft and a traditional first person shooter with the excitement of team play.
* The game is, surprisingly, inconsistent. Epic changes aspects of the game environment in real time, which a big enough space that the game is not disrupted.

Social reasons:
* Fortnite is a lot like social media. The social world of Fortnite is constantly going on, creating a sense of FOMO in players, not unlike social media.
* Young people love to talk about Fortnite and bring aspects of the game, especially the dances, into their "real life."
* It is quantified - for young people raised on likes and 👍, racking up numbers on Fortnite is a logical extension.
* Its popularity rose with the growth of streaming sites like Switch and game streaming on YouTube that has created Fortnite celebrities who are "regular people" which appeals to young players.
* "Real" celebrities like this game too, adding to its popularity.

Fortnite on the blue previously [1] [2] [3] [4]
posted by k8t (82 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
As someone with a 9-year-old (who is not allowed to play yet), Fortnite is ALL ANY KID CAN TALK ABOUT RIGHT NOW.
posted by k8t at 12:05 PM on July 13, 2018 [11 favorites]


I was just talking to my 12-year-old this morning about Fortnite, and she says it's on the decline.

(I tend to believe her, based purely on the articles I've seen explaining it for adults)
posted by mogget at 12:13 PM on July 13, 2018 [20 favorites]


My kids (15 and 9) are playing Fortnite at this very minute. I've tried it, but I don't quite understand the hype. I do like to make redstone contraptions and railways in Minecraft survival mode, though.
posted by JamesBay at 12:15 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


My older son also works at a local grocery store. It's a boring job, he says, and the highlight of his shift last night was when a kid attempted the "Fortnite shopping cart maneuver" and crashed to the floor. Apparently the kid's mother was mortified.
posted by JamesBay at 12:16 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


I was just talking to my 12-year-old this morning about Fortnite, and she says it's on the decline.

For as long as people have been discussing online games online, every game that exists has been in decline according to a subset of opinionated players. Sometimes it's even true, but often that decline is extremely slow, or it reverses.
posted by Foosnark at 12:20 PM on July 13, 2018 [8 favorites]


My 10yo loves it. All his friends also. It's very, very common to see kids between 8-14yo break out into a FN dance.
Last night ,we spent a good amount of time messing around in golf carts, even did a full lap on the race track in the desert, which, if you wait for the race countdown, gives you a time. We went 1:48.
posted by signal at 12:22 PM on July 13, 2018


A friend was just telling me how much his kids are into this. He said it was a lot of buying costumes and dances, to which I replied "oh".

I do know that Epic Games will let people from Russia try and make accounts with your email and there is absolutely no way to contact the company and make them stop.
posted by bongo_x at 12:30 PM on July 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


A few months ago at a park near I live, four 8 year olds were playing pretend Fortnite. They were jumping up and down around each other shooting pretend pump shotguns. One kid fell down, another pretended to rez him, another started dance emoting and the fourth picked up some leaves and said "I'm a bush".

So many confused adults...
posted by Groundhog Week at 12:30 PM on July 13, 2018 [30 favorites]


As the parent of two girls and the spouse of a teacher (who spends a LOT of time trying to control Fortnite related "issues") I think it's really worth emphasising that this is the first game since Minecraft to have large scale appeal across genders. All the kids of a certain age/demographic know about it and most of them have played it. It has a staggering mindshare within the 8 to 15 age group, and the money these kids are spending on their characters... well it's huge.

The game is rated "12" here in the UK, but at my wife's school (which is only attended by children up to 10yrs) it's been the main cause of inter-child disputes of the year. So yay... video game ratings clearly work.

Also of interest is that that Epic have been running the Unreal Engine Marketplace to to generate revenue from their Unreal engine and the dev community using it. Many massively popular games have used that marketplace, including Fortnite contemporary PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Epic have just announced that they're changing the marketplace rev share split from 70/30 to 88/12... and they're backdating the change 4 years. Most commentators seem to be of the opinion that Fortnite's vast revenues have been the enabler for the change, particularly the unusual choice to backdate it.

I've also seen analysis that Fortnite streaming on Twitch is bringing huge numbers of new viewers to the platform, whereas big new games normally cannibalise most of their viewers from existing hits within the genre.

Fortnite is basically a phenomenon. It's exploded beyond the usual player pool like nothing since Minecraft. Epic have a money making machine on their hands. The question is how long they can keep it relevant.
posted by samworm at 12:31 PM on July 13, 2018 [16 favorites]


My take was that the game is a lot friendlier to girls, ala Splatoon.

And, also like Splatoon, there's also less of a war-stance in the game (non-military uniforms, no blood, players don't die but are 'zapped' up by a hovering drone), which is refreshing and a good step in the right direction compared to some of the other popular MMO games out there.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:32 PM on July 13, 2018 [11 favorites]


I'm a 35 year-old woman and I love Fortnite. I have started playing rounds of it every night after work in lieu of sitting on social media, feeding outrage to my brain. I've also retired every male character in the game for Reasons.
posted by Donald Trump Sex Nightmare at 12:32 PM on July 13, 2018 [17 favorites]


I gave Fortnite a spin for Season Four and was incredibly addicted -- for about five weeks. Now, I'm kind of meh on it. But I'm not a barometer of what's hip in gaming, as I just started Bloodborne.

Also, I'm 48, so get your shopping cart off my lawn.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 12:35 PM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]


OK, I've played Fortnite a bit since it hit the Switch and wasn't really won over by it, but I'm also in my 40s and maybe it's OK for me to sit this one out, even if I have put a few hundred hours into Splatoon and plan to dedicate a few hours this weekend to Wolfenstein.

That said, can anybody tell me why almost all of the kids photographed for the article are wearing brightly colored aviator sunglasses? Is that something from the game? Am I officially an old?
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:41 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


What idiot posted about this 4 times on the blue previously?
posted by Fizz at 12:43 PM on July 13, 2018 [15 favorites]


I was just talking to my 12-year-old this morning about Fortnite, and she says it's on the decline.

The social drive is what's really pulling people in. People play because their friends are playing. And for some people, there's not a lot of there there and they're going to stop playing pretty quickly.

Thus, your daughter. She is both right and not right.

My college-aged son plays with friends on sunday nights. It seems to be the new thing to do while hanging out.
posted by GuyZero at 12:46 PM on July 13, 2018


That said, can anybody tell me why almost all of the kids photographed for the article are wearing brightly colored aviator sunglasses?

Came in to post the same question.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:50 PM on July 13, 2018


People play because their friends are playing.

Among the children of my circle of friends, that's generally how its been discussed. I've also heard enough horror stories about kids stealing credit cards and racking up charges for stuff in Fortnite. Incredible how ubiquitous its become in such a relatively short time.
posted by Ashwagandha at 12:50 PM on July 13, 2018


That said, can anybody tell me why almost all of the kids photographed for the article are wearing brightly colored aviator sunglasses? Is that something from the game? Am I officially an old?

Pretty sure it comes from the game, a couple of characters wear that style.
posted by jeremias at 12:51 PM on July 13, 2018


Kids also love opening the chests. And get really excited about finding a Scar. Even if they are eliminated five seconds later.
posted by starman at 12:52 PM on July 13, 2018


It's very, very common to see kids between 8-14yo break out into a FN dance.

I've never quite felt so old. My kid who is SIX was doing a fortnite dance, and my wife was like "where the fuck did he pick that up?" it took me a very, very long time to figure it out.

Either I'm just that out of touch 'with the kids these days' or my google skills are slowly going (I mean, how the fuck do you google a dance?)
posted by furnace.heart at 12:54 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Game studios and publishers read these figures and their damn minds melt. Like 300M per month from skins and other cosmetics? We're doomed with battle royales for years to come.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:01 PM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]


I got up and snuck in a game before work yesterday because I wanted to see the season 5 map.
Discovered the ATVs and spent the game driving round dancing on the back with strangers, it was joyous. I love Fortnite because its super fun and bright and quick and I have something in common with my nephews.
posted by Damienmce at 1:01 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


It should also be mentioned that he has not played FN nor really knows what it is. Just weird, kid-cultural trickle down.

He was doing the dance appropriately however, having schooled me hard at a game.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:02 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


Game studios and publishers read these figures and their damn minds melt. Like 300M per month from skins and other cosmetics? We're doomed with battle royales for years to come.

Along the same lines, I wonder how long big publishers can resist making their games F2P. Not sure the model of 'pay $60 for our game and then pay a bunch more in microtransactions, we hope" can work.
posted by selfnoise at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Like 300M per month from skins and other cosmetics? We're doomed with battle royales for years to come.

In 2010 you might have said the same thing about WoW and it may have no players in a couple years.
posted by GuyZero at 1:05 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


He was doing the dance appropriately however, having schooled me hard at a game.

My kids actually fight over whether the dances are allowed to be performed if you don't play actively the game (which they don't). It's very strange.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:10 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wait, what are video games?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:12 PM on July 13, 2018 [8 favorites]


How long did it take for Pokemon Go to crash and fall from it's height? I think it came out at the start of the summer, and by the end it was just another game?
posted by AlSweigart at 1:19 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


I haven't played this game (or any battle royale game). Am I missing anything? I know it's hellaciously popular – but these days, I just don't have any appetite for competitive games, and especially not twitchy shooters.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:20 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


As the parent of two girls and the spouse of a teacher (who spends a LOT of time trying to control Fortnite related "issues") I think it's really worth emphasising that this is the first game since Minecraft to have large scale appeal across genders.

This is almost certainly what enabled Fortnite to eat PUBG's breakfast.

I wonder if the "cartoony" style drives away any of the toxic assholes who normally make multiplayer games hell for female gamers. I know that a lot of PUBG fans dismissed Fortnite as "kiddy shit", and I imagine there's a strong correlation between hypermasculine avoidance of "kiddy shit" and being a toxic asshole. This is all just spitballing on my part, though.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:20 PM on July 13, 2018 [35 favorites]


The fact that Fortnite has a mobile version seems really important. Many of the stories I read about kids playing it are how they're playing it instead of being at school, or visiting the Lincoln Memorial, or.. having a game like this in your pocket, a full high quality networked shooter, able to play it at any moment. It's pretty crazy.

I also liked Ghostcrawler's comment on Battle Royale-style games on the Riot Games blog
the expectation that you probably won’t win—you’ll probably lose—is a really nice element
Every other PvP game I've played, including Ghostcrawler's own League of Legends, is generally a 50/50 prospect. You're either on the winning team or the losing team. As a consequence fear of losing can be really anxiety-inducing. With Fortnite and the like you go into any specific game not expecting to win, but hoping to do well and maybe have a fun or excitingly tense moment or two. That seems like a healthy thing.
posted by Nelson at 1:23 PM on July 13, 2018 [17 favorites]


I guess I'm old; for reasons I can't quite articulate I find this article really depressing.
posted by gyusan at 1:25 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


For me, the cartoony style just sort of makes it more disturbing, insofar as it feels like it should be a Hunger Games/Battle Royale situation, but everything looks as suburban and homogenized as a Disney Channel tween show or an Old Navy ad. I don't know how I feel about the idea of normalizing weapons of war in that kind of setting; I can deal with uzis and shotguns fine in a gritty military/sci-fi shooter, and can deal with Splatoon abstracting everything into squirt guns and water balloons, but somehow the midpoint between those aesthetics just feels weird to me.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:30 PM on July 13, 2018 [12 favorites]


I guess I'm old; for reasons I can't quite articulate I find this article really depressing.

You and me both. I just found it kind of confusing - like my kids obsession with youtubers. I do not really understand.
posted by corb at 1:34 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


How long did it take for Pokemon Go to crash and fall from it's height?

Define "crash and fall".

'Cause going trains full of cash to vans trucks full of cash isn't exactly terrible.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:39 PM on July 13, 2018 [12 favorites]


I just polled the kids in the backyard, and out of 4, only the boy had any idea what it was.

All of them, however, knew the dance where you wave your hands around your hips.
Strange how things like that can take on a life of their own.
posted by madajb at 2:00 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Streamers/Youtubers are relatable. They're "ordinary" people doing stuff better, faster, more competently than the kids can themselves, but doing the same stuff kids would do if they only could. They're relatable and heros at the same time, the cool kids on the playground. It's a fine balance between an immediate intimacy of a video call and the distance of hero worship. I think also the fact that they're not famous famous also makes them more real.
posted by bonehead at 2:17 PM on July 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


I was a fairly early adopter of the original Fortnite/Save the World, which is still pretty fun to hop into and and see what's new, ala Diablo 3 and remains a crazy source of virtual currency revenue. I played a bit of Season One Battle Royale, but didn't get hooked until Season Two. Season One was rough. The first 50v50 announcement around the time of the holiday game awards seemed to be the first major public consciousness boost. I burnt out getting the John Wick skin in Season Three, and only got about halfway through Season Four's battle pass, but dug the events, Thanos and the Crack in Space/Time.

It's weird seeing it become the biggest, most pervasive cultural thing going on, right now. World Cup celebrations, strangers in lines at theaters, restaurants, shopping, lyrical mentions.

The best thing it has going is unpredictability, and it's always changing, evolving, and surprising.

Anecdotally, whenever I play it, it always feels super inclusive and most everyone seems to be having a lot of fun.

The Season Five golf carts have been a blast to mess around with, and I bought a second battle pass on a new account for the Switch. I don't know how I'll invest my gaming time into Fortnite in the future, but it's a pretty neat thing.

The more meta quest/gameplay, the introduction of secondary toys/sports modes, and what I'm guessing will be more and more live events with crazy production value, will make Fortnite into a game that supports all types of players and playstyles.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 2:20 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Last week at the library, I saw two kids - both non native English speakers from different continents - communicate for a half hour exclusively through the medium of Fortnite dances. They were both so happy.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:30 PM on July 13, 2018 [26 favorites]


I’m 44, a casual gamer, have never played first person shooters and I am totally addicted to Fortnite. I am absolutely horrible and maybe get 1 kill every 10 games but I have to say it is a lot of fun once you get the muscle memory down and can competently loot, shoot and build some kind of ramp / wall.

It’s a snackable game which for me is the appeal. A game for me can last 1-20 minutes and you simply start over. The skill level required is very high and fighting people is a serious adrenaline ride. My heart rate is through the roof sometimes.

With that said, Fortnite is going to be around for a LONG time. They have made some incredibly smart decisions, are responsive to feedback to the community and have a engine that allows them to evolve / fork the game in ways that are yet unknown. The fact that they never intended it to be a Battle Royal style game, saw the popularity of PUBG and were able to create a whole new game mechanic in short order in the Unreal engine is super impressive.

With $100 million pledged in prize money and an army of developers and a rabid fan base this game is just getting started. They will make multi billions before they are done. It’s the next World of Warcraft.
posted by jasondigitized at 2:31 PM on July 13, 2018 [9 favorites]


In a couple of days, one of the players who is more likely to score in the World Cup final (usually one of the most watched TV broadcasts worldwide) might celebrate it with a dance from Fortnite, showing how deep the popularity of the game goes to the point you have sports TV shows explaining it. This also means, next years' FIFA might have a celebration based on another videogame.

While I don't have anything capable of running the game and I'm usually veeeeeeeeeeeery adverse to online gaming, I could see myself giving it a shot.
posted by lmfsilva at 2:32 PM on July 13, 2018


Last week at the library, I saw two kids - both non native English speakers from different continents - communicate for a half hour exclusively through the medium of Fortnite dances. They were both so happy.

All those jokes about Interpretive dancing finally became real!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:49 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


'Cause going trains full of cash to vans trucks full of cash isn't exactly terrible.

yeah, Pokemon Go has pulled in something like $1.8B lifetime worldwide and is bringing in $70M a month.

Now, sure, Fortnight is apparently bringing in $126M a month, but Pokemon Go is really, really far from failing and forgotten.
posted by GuyZero at 2:49 PM on July 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


All of them, however, knew the dance where you wave your hands around your hips.

has there not been a FPP on flossing yet?

Man, mefi is full of olds.
posted by GuyZero at 2:52 PM on July 13, 2018 [11 favorites]


I've played for a few weeks on Switch, and depending on the gameplay style you pick (solo, squads, snipers only) It brings back a bit of nostalgia for the days of getting a group of friends together to play "GoldenEye" or similar games - minus the in-person gloating and screenwatching.

It's surprisingly engaging, and when you start seeing the remaining players count dip into the single digits and you're still around - I'll admit my heart starts beating a bit faster and I get SUPER invested in trying to win - which has only happened once, but gave me some serious cred in some circles.
posted by STLviaCMH at 3:01 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Soooo...you kill lots of people, right?
posted by Thorzdad at 3:02 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Pokemon Go is really, really far from failing and forgotten
It's literally the "top grossing" game in my region's app store. The money is very much arriving by train on that one. The game has a huge list of problems, but revenue is not one of them.
posted by samworm at 3:06 PM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]


Now, sure, Fortnight is apparently bringing in $126M a month, but Pokemon Go is really, really far from failing and forgotten.

It has dipped from being the thing like when it was released and I saw people making facebook groups to play together in the weekend, TV reports on the game, PSAs about being mindful while being near roads and to not trespass private property without permission or venture into the wild without proper preparation etc, then Winter started and it started dying down. Now it's just another massively popular game, but I didn't hear much from it until some big thing was announced a few months ago and for a few days people seemed excited to pick it up again.
By next year, maybe the same will likely happen to Fortnite and some other game will pokemon go and take their place as the media sensation of the moment.
posted by lmfsilva at 3:17 PM on July 13, 2018


hmm. So when the first trailer came out for this co-operative fortress building game where you fight swarms of monsters I thought it looked super interesting but it looks like pretty much every aspect of it that makes it not standard PvP has been stripped.
posted by Artw at 3:21 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


Now it's just another massively popular game

I'm curious how many games you think bring in $70M per month
posted by GuyZero at 3:22 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


It is interesting how Fortnight has accumulated a lot of media attention but Roblox (which I believe was cross-platform before Fortnite) has really flown under the radar as it is also huge, but it is almost entirely populated by young girls. Looking at the photos, it appears Fortnite is still primarily appealing to males (is it not still true that most characters and skins still favour male identity with the male gaze impact on female skins and characters very appearent?)
posted by saucysault at 3:24 PM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]


hmm. So when the first trailer came out for this co-operative fortress building game where you fight swarms of monsters I thought it looked super interesting but it looks like pretty much every aspect of it that makes it not standard PvP has been stripped.

That's all still in there and being worked on. Fortnite has two modes: the original co-op PvE concept now called Fortnite Save the World, and the Battle Royale bonus mode that they threw together to capitalize on the genre's boom. It's just that the Battle Royale got way more popular than anyone expected, and now that's all anyone talks about.
posted by skymt at 3:43 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think the challenge of the game really brings people together.. when you win as a squad you feel like you really accomplished something as a team.
The strategy and tactics involved can be very intricate.. from setting a destination, tracking the enemy (and covering your tracks), to what to carry in your (limited) inventory.
It can teach kids good lessons like patience, planning, and teamwork — not to mention you must fail many, many times to succeed.
posted by starman at 3:52 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm curious how many games you think bring in $70M per month

Have I mentioned anything about money or called it a fad? No, I just said the mainstream popularity of the game kinda waned a bit over time which is why it might have seemed to crash. I'm just not getting daily invitations for PokeWalks or whatever they were called like I used to get during the Summer of 2016. It's still a "massively popular game", just not going to be on the news as the "new craze that is sweeping the nation".
posted by lmfsilva at 3:58 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


So it's...Minecraft for angry children?
posted by elsietheeel at 4:07 PM on July 13, 2018


I can't believe we've gotten this far in a thread about a cartoony shooter game and no one's thought to remember ol' Team Fortress 2.
posted by JHarris at 4:16 PM on July 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


It’s a snackable game which for me is the appeal. A game for me can last 1-20 minutes and you simply start over. The skill level required is very high and fighting people is a serious adrenaline ride. My heart rate is through the roof sometimes.

This is exactly why PUBG (and battle royale games in general) got so popular. Tense even when nothing is happening, and if you screw up and die, you're back in another match pretty much right away.

PUBG is more "realistic" and "tactical" or whatever which probably works better on people like me who like their shooters that way.

I tried Fortnite awhile back before it was cool (tm) and bounced right off it. Not my sort of thing really. I understand the appeal, but not the ridiculous overnight popularity. Get off my lawn.
posted by neckro23 at 4:25 PM on July 13, 2018


I like watching Realm Royale. Solely because you turn into a ridiculous cartoon chicken when you get knocked out.
posted by rewil at 4:41 PM on July 13, 2018


I'm 43, a lady, and love Fortnite. I play Battle Royale Solo only because I don't know anyone else who plays (other than my husband, but we share a computer) and also I'm terrible and no one would want me on their squad (also also I don't want to talk to people while I'm gaming). I play the PC version but with a USB controller because fuck sitting at a desk to play a game, I'm relaxing FFS! Hence, terrible aim. I don't care though because it's a game I can play in half hour chunks, which is the sum total of my daily free time. It scratches the same itch as Goldeneye minus the ability for Mr. Lorensen and I to play against each other. I like that it's cartoony and I don't have to flip out and shut the screen if my kid catches me playing it. I like that it's not military or police oriented and I like that it changes periodically. The sniper solo mode was the best and I hope it comes back soon.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:42 PM on July 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


like my kids obsession with youtubers. I do not really understand.

Most of the "kids" I'm around, if ever, are late teens or early 20's.
But the only thing worse than rambling YouTube videos is someone telling you about them.

minus the in-person gloating and screenwatching.

So not as fun then?

With that said, Fortnite is going to be around for a LONG time.

Well great, now you've killed it. Sell.
posted by bongo_x at 4:43 PM on July 13, 2018


1) I'm 40. I can't believe people pay for skins in this game. Like, pay a lot for skins. I've run across a few GoFundMe pages where people are begging for more money (I'm guessing they're 12 years old) so they can buy a skin that doesn't give them any advantage. People like the game that much.

2) This game is great. I play on my PS4 which kinda sucks for shooters (and I suck at MMO games anyway) and the strategy and skill involved are amazing. I've yet to kill anyone after about 20 rounds (not for lack of trying), and my top score has been 3rd. My best strategy is just to hide and sneak.

3) Last week some friends from college visited, and they've got kids who are interested in Fortnite but they haven't let them play because "that's all the kids are talking about these days". So I fire it up and show them how it looks and works. I get like maybe 25th place. The mom says "ok, it's cartoon-y, I can see the strategy, whatever" and then I hand the controller to her 10-year old. She plays 4 times (her first time ever), and on the last game she gets SECOND PLACE. During the last 5 minutes of the game we were all (like 10 people in my livingroom) FREAKING OUT AND SHOUTING. It was so tense. She was using my "hide and sneak" strategy because she didn't really know how to switch weapons, and there's 10 people in the room screaming OH MY GOD ELOISE! YES! RUN NOW! HIDE BEHIND THAT TREE! LET THOSE PEOPLE KILL EACH OTHER OFF THEN ESCAPE THE STORM IN THAT SHED OVER THERE! It was amazing.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 4:46 PM on July 13, 2018 [19 favorites]


Have I mentioned anything about money or called it a fad? No, I just said the mainstream popularity of the game kinda waned a bit over time which is why it might have seemed to crash.

Yeah, but multiple people have pointed out that it's far from crashed.

I'm just not getting daily invitations for PokeWalks or whatever they were called like I used to get during the Summer of 2016.

You should probably stop talking about a game you haven't played in two years 'cause your frame of reference is seriously out of whack.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:49 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


My kid pestered me to get Fortnite, and I thought it looked like fun. First time playing it, ever, I got into the top 5 and SUDDENLY I WAS THE DAD GOD.

Then I picked up another console and we played together...and he got. so. sick. of my dad-style of play so incredibly quickly and now I'm dadda-non-grata in the game.

And when he got his first win I thought his head was going to fall off.
posted by davejay at 4:52 PM on July 13, 2018 [8 favorites]


Bleeeeeeurgh IAPs.
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


I can't believe people pay for skins in this game. Like, pay a lot for skins.

Right?! Like, there are people looking at this game thinking, here is a very very fun game that is 100% free to play that doesn't make you spend money to level up, so hold up real quick while I needlessly spend mad money on skins and emotes!!! I do not understand.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:22 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Free to play works on the psychological equivalent of the tip jar. Some people feel compelled to tip high, and often. In the year or so of playing, I've spent forty bucks on it, the most recent ten to buy into the Switch battle pass ecosystem. Because I had a lot of free existing Epic credit, and still do. But I felt like being generous because I'd been having a swell time.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 5:26 PM on July 13, 2018


Fortnite is the first FPS my youngest son, now 9, has ever played, and the game makes me uneasy. "Is a pump shotgun strong, Dad? What about a revolver?"

While I intellectually understand there is supposedly no connection between "violent video games" and real-life gun violence, I do find it unsettling that so many video games, even a cartoony one like Fortnite, fetishize firearms, and introduce (or infect) kids and young adults with the concept early on.

I guess I could wait until the arbitrary age of 12 to let him play, but 12 is too young, too.
posted by JamesBay at 6:14 PM on July 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


I love how enthusiastic people are about this particular game and the genre as a whole. It's not for me. It's not at all something I enjoy or good at playing. But I appreciate how impactful it is in both the gaming community and beyond.

*goes back to playing Binding of Isaac and Hollow Knight*
posted by Fizz at 6:18 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


I can't believe we've gotten this far in a thread about a cartoony shooter game and no one's thought to remember ol' Team Fortress 2.

I was waiting to finish reading all the comments to point this out, but in addition to being a team-friendly, free to play cartoony shooter that emphasizes humor and fun, it's basically Unreal's guitar solo using their own engine, exactly like Valve's TF2.

TF2, for the record, just had an update in April. It's crazy how long they've been supporting it.
posted by rokusan at 6:33 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Inspired by this post I just spent an hour and a half playing with a couple of friends, and it was an entertaining way to spend some time. I have no idea what I’m doing, though, like literally cannot figure it out, and I have a strong suspicion the skill plateau would kill this for me in a week or so.

I am so not made for this.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:28 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


This strikes me as more reminiscent of the WoW boom than Minecraft, but with a larger potential market than WoW. And despite being in long term decline, WoW remains a huge cash cow (along with Warcraft/Starcraft) that allowed Blizzard to develop things like Hearthstone and Overwatch.

I do agree that battle royale isn't all that different than king of the hill death match modes, and Fortnite looks very TF2-like. But, it clearly doesn't play like a counterstrike derivative.

Epic has a really long ride ahead of them if they manage it right. And they do seem to be, even if it's probably not a game for me.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:06 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to talk my wife into letting me buy a Switch, just to let the kid play Fortnite. She already has her favorite dance from watching YouTube Kids vids, which she does just standing around, out of habit.

I was just talking to my 12-year-old this morning about Fortnite, and she says it's on the decline.

Netcraft confirms it!

(Kid, I have a four-digit user ID on slashdot, and was a veteran of the Natalie Portman Petrification Wars. Memes. Heh. Don't talk to me about memes until all your base are belong to us, in a blood-stained sweater, and your lobster sticks to magnet.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:24 PM on July 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


Right claw north! (Left claw south!)
posted by Alterscape at 11:24 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


"JO'Z HEER"
[LAWSUIT]
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:38 PM on July 13, 2018


After this post, we played tonight sans kid, first on the pc and then on the switch.
It is pretty fun. I've never been a first person shooter type.

I think I'm not entirely worried about my kid playing it but not with strangers.
posted by k8t at 12:10 AM on July 14, 2018


While I intellectually understand there is supposedly no connection between "violent video games" and real-life gun violence, I do find it unsettling that so many video games, even a cartoony one like Fortnite, fetishize firearms, and introduce (or infect) kids and young adults with the concept early on.

If my anecdotal experience helps to put your mind at ease: I grew up on video games, including plenty of violent ones. I've used all manner of virtual weapons to slaughter all manner of virtual people and animals. My victims certainly number in the millions by now.

Meanwhile, in real life: I've never been in a fight. I've only fired guns on one occasion (a couple of friends took me out to make watermelons go splat). I shield my eyes from graphically violent scenes in movies – slicing off a pixellated Nazi's head is one thing, but truly realistic violence is quite another. I was a vegetarian for 15 years.

Shooter games are more like waterguns or laser tag. And, sure – you could argue that those pastimes fetishize firearms, as well. But that's just not how most participants are thinking about it. No one who plays laser tag is thinking, even subconsciously, "I can't wait to get my hands on a real gun, so I can kill people for real". They're just zapping their friends in a game, because that's fun.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:46 AM on July 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


If my anecdotal experience helps to put your mind at ease

Yeah, I have the same experience as you do. Yet I live in a society that is violent and unfair, and continues to be that way, even as the generation of kids who grew up in the 70s and 80s wield control.

Like I said, it's unsettling to have my young son ask me about firearms ballistics. Fucking weird, actually. Wonder why Fortnite didn't make cartoony guns?
posted by JamesBay at 7:19 AM on July 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


hmm. So when the first trailer came out for this co-operative fortress building game where you fight swarms of monsters I thought it looked super interesting but it looks like pretty much every aspect of it that makes it not standard PvP has been stripped.

It's actually a different game (Fortnite Battle Royale) made with the resources (both software and personnel) that were originally going to be used to make the co-op PvE Fortnite (Which still exists and is in Early Access, but no idea if Epic is going to put much work into anything but Fortnite Battle Royale for a while. Not much been going on with Unreal Tournament for a while either.)

That's one of the reasons Epic was able to quickly jump on the battle royale craze and then dominate it: they repurposed an existing game in development (which was itself building on their engine developed originally for PvP games like Unreal Tournament).
posted by straight at 10:58 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


My best strategy is just to hide and sneak.


Mine too. The one game I won I had one kill. Hardcore players hate those of us who use this "turtling" strategy. They can suck it.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 8:36 AM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


They can suck it.

Indeed they can. I don't even try that hard to hide--it's just a big environment and if you don't land in the same spot that the 50% of players who jump as soon as it's enabled, it's hard to find people at first even if you're actively looking. I frequently finish top 10 with zero kills without doing it on purpose. I just do not have the skill to land directly on top of 10 other people and live for more than 30 seconds, so I land somewhere where I have a chance of getting a couple weapons before encountering another player, and that's enough to keep me out of harm's way for at least half the game.

The all-sniper-weapon mode was amazing for me. All sneaking, all the time.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:49 AM on July 16, 2018


...if you don't land in the same spot that the 50% of players who jump as soon as it's enabled, it's hard to find people at first even if you're actively looking. I frequently finish top 10 with zero kills without doing it on purpose.

Yeah, I think there's a great philosophical lesson for kids there, on what you're trying to get out of the game (as a metaphor for what you want out of life), as far as jumping in for fun but taking your lumps vs playing to win but needing to be patient goes.
posted by davejay at 10:50 AM on July 16, 2018


So I've been playing around with it. I played the Battle Royale mode long enough to be charmed by the art style, and to feel like I needed a less frenetic environment to learn the game (especially the building aspects). So I bought into the early access program for the PvE game (note: it's going to be coming out F2P reasonably soon).

I'm really, really enjoying that mode. I don't usually like tower defense but something about the way this mashes up the genre is really fun.

Also, while the equipment, skins etc don't transfer between modes, playing PvE missions rewards v-bucks and those are an account-wide benefit.

N.B: the Switch version doesn't have the PvE mode. Nintendo says they don't have plans to add it, but maybe the outcry when it releases F2P will change that.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:36 PM on July 16, 2018


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