Will Fortnite become the new Second Life? – editorial

A video game so transforming to the point that, a few years after its debut, we are here to talk about a virtual metaverse potential where people, in addition to playing, listen to concerts and watch movies. This is not a new project, but Fortnite, which Epic Games continues to shape more and more something new and at the same time already seen.

The video game label, on the contrary, is now very close to it: it is a social network, a marketing platform; a metaverse where users can only enter to live the virtual equivalent of experiences they do not find live, especially during the pandemic. Or to experience them as the new generations wish: interactive and multimedia.

Fortnite is a second life in the new millennium, a place where you enter and do things. There is no need to shoot or build in the Party Royale mode of the game, which is why the various concerts, from Marshmello to Travis Scott, or the crossovers with Star Wars and the projection of the trailers, take place from this way.

Second Life, born in 2003 and still active, recreates a virtual world in which to socialize in many ways. Fortnite seems to want to resume this trend by offering a more captivating version, especially for new generations.

A virtual social network is not an objective that only drives out Epic Games: Facebook Horizon is a social virtual reality project that will work in exactly the same way, with, of course, a viewer dedicated to carrying. To demonstrate that, according to technology companies, there is a hole to fill in this market.

If, however, Facebook Horizon, in the future, could captivate a transversal audience, Fortnite seems rather to be dedicated to young players. Epic concentrates on this type of activity, to the point that the other aspects of the game seem to have been put in the background a little: while the maxi-events, like “The Device” and the black hole, attract millions of people and they break their own records, the past few seasons have shown some weakness in terms of content. In the same way, Epic also seems to have slowed down export tournaments, where just a year ago, it announced with great fanfare 100 million dollars invested.

So the impression is that Epic Games is more interested in making Fortnite a virtual shopping center. And who knows if, in the future, its advertising sequence could be definitively explicit: would it be so stupid to think of buying products after having seen the virtual reproduction of a T-shirt and perhaps having worn it to his avatar? At this point, no: millions of people have come together to follow Christopher Nolan’s films live or to follow a concert.

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Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert was a riot of lights and special effects. Something that outside of a video game would have been very difficult to recreate.

Making a video game is expensive. Ex-PlayStation Shawn Layden recently said that publishers should think about the cheaper but more compact triple A (15-20 hours maximum). Epic Games could go another way to vary revenues by introducing advertisements and a virtual world in which to buy, watch movies, listen to music.

On the other hand, the gaming industry has always been looking for ways to monetize, other than just buying the game. We remember the Online Pass (already forgotten but at the time highly criticized but also popular) for fight against used; DLC (initially considered evil and now the cornerstone of the industry) to increase the revenue from each copy distributed; then the loot boxes and accessories to personalize the character (who said Team Fortress hats?).

It is not only Epic Games that is going in this direction. KFC has created an island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which players can visit. GQ magazine, another example, did the same. Certain video games, in particular those which are less “active” and more inclined to virtual relaxation (Animal Crossing, in fact, or the Party Royale mode of Fortnite), reconsider their role: not only video games but also marketing tools and a showcase for businesses but with dedicated content.

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Nintendo also plays marketing in its games: KFC has an island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

An island in Animal Crossing, a special weapon in Fortnite, a character in a fighting game. Events that make sense in a video game but which obviously aim to market and give visibility to a different commercial product, but often similar to the entertainment sector (films, television series, etc.).

Fortnite is certainly the most obvious example and Epic Games is not trying to hide it. In addition, after the last round of funding, it is now worth $ 17 billion and has very different needs than a few years ago. It only remains to understand how far the producer wants to go.

Source : Eurogamer.it