You may have heard that Drake recently helped set a Twitch viewership record for playing the game Fortnite Battle Royale. This record setting broadcast exemplifies the growing phenomenon of Fortnite. If you're unfamiliar with the Fortnite games, then we've got some interesting facts for you about the title that's taking the gaming community by storm, and if you're already a Fortnite pro, maybe you'll learn something new!
1. An Unreal Company
Fortnite was developed by Epic Games using their Unreal 4 game engine. Epic Games is also the company behind popular video game titles such as Unreal Tournament and Infinity Blade.
2. What’s It About?
Fortnite narrates the tale of a world where 98% of the human population has vanished, and the remaining individuals consistently face danger from zombies, referred to as "husks," who originate from overhead storms. As a player, you are one of the remaining humans and your task is to complete various objectives such as protecting other survivors from the husks and rebuilding aspects of civilization.
3. A Long Road to Release
Epic Games first announced Fortnite way back in 2011. A series of delays and testing periods saw the actual release of the game pushed back to 2017. Although officially announced as a free-to-play title, the game was released in July 2017 under a paid early-access deal. Gamers that purchased the game were afforded special features that would continue once the game became free.
4. Instant Success
By the end of its release month of July 2017, Epic Games announced that they had sold over 500,000 digital copies of Fortnite. By the next month, the game’s player count exceeded one million.
5. Imitation is the Greatest Form of Flattery
Although Fortnite amassed a large following upon release, its popularity was surpassed by that of a Steam title called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, commonly called PUBG. PUBG uses a battle royale concept (inspired by the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale), in which the objective is to be defeat all other competitors and be the last person standing. Epic Games decided to capitalize on the popularity of this style of gameplay, and the result was Fortnite Battle Royale, which was released as a free standalone game in late 2017 and quickly became the game's most popular iteration.
6. Hunger Games
The gameplay of Fortnite Battle Royale involves up to 100 players, either solo or in squads, being parachuted into a large, randomly generated map. The players then survey the landscape for tools and resources, striving to endure and be the final individual or team standing, as straightforward as that. In order to ensure games reach a timely conclusion, the safe area of the map slowly shrinks over the course of the match, forcing players to keep moving and inevitably bringing them into contact with each other.
7. Bigger Than the Original
The popularity of the battle royale concept pioneered by PUBG proved to be a huge selling point for Fortnite Battle Royale. It had one million players on launch day and within just two weeks amassed 10 million unique users.
8. A Winner in Name Only
Users of the Fortnite Battler Royale subreddit discovered a player with the handle “Fortnite Winner". Whoever it was must have been pretty confident going in, but that confidence turned out to be severely misplaced: At one point, "Fortnite Winner" had over 1,000 games played without a single victory.
9. Cross Play Capability
In March 2018, Epic Games announced that players would be able to play Fortnite Battle Royale against each other across different platforms. While there's a bit of a hold up for allowing people playing on Xbox and PlayStation to play against each other, every other combination of cross-platform play is possible, a rare feat in the world of video games.
10. A Fearsome Foursome
On the night of March 14, 2018, popular video game streamer Ninja (real name: Tyler Blevins) was playing Fortnite Battle Royale for his legion of followers on Twitch, a popular video game streaming platform. However, the amount of people tuned in would grow exponentially once rap superstar Drake joined Ninja’s squad. They were also joined by rapper Travis Scott and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster. Over 628,000 people tuned in to watch this fearsome foursome, setting an all-time, non-tournament Twitch viewership record.
11. A Great Way to Unwind
During the course of the stream, Drake revealed that Fortnite Battle Royale has become a much needed respite from the grind of recording his new album. Drake stated that it's quite normal to spend as much as 20 hours in the studio during a recording day. According to the rapper, playing Fortnite Battle Royale or watching a streamer like Ninja play the game provides a nice “little mental break".
12. An Interesting Addition to the Party
The foursome playing Fortnite Battle Royale were at one point joined by the notorious founder of Megaupload and former Internet hacker Kim DotCom. DotCom is currently living in New Zealand, trying to avoid extradition to the United States for a series of charges. It turns out a good way to stave off the boredom of exile is to play video games with celebrities.
13. Bringing in More Celebrities
Inspired by the Drake-fuelled success of Ninja’s stream, Epic Games have announced a celebrity pro-am Fortnite Battle Royale tournament at the upcoming E3—the Electronic Entertainment Expo—in June 2018. This year’s annual Los Angeles video game industry trade convention will pit 50 professional gamers and 50 stars from the entertainment and sports worlds in what is sure to be a widely followed event.
14. Fortnite For All
If you have aspirations to jump on the Fortnite Battle Royale bandwagon but don’t have a PlayStation 4, Xbox One or a state-of-the-art gaming PC, you can still join in on the fun. In March 2018, Epic Games announced that their popular game will be available on mobile platforms via Android and iOS. This will guarantee that the already popular Fortnite Battle Royale will become even more ubiquitous.
15. Parental Concerns
Fortnite and Fortnite Battle Royale have become a massive hit with younger gamers. The combination of non-repetitive gameplay and the fact that it's free to play makes for a pretty accessible, addictive video game. As a result, many parents have expressed concerns about their children spending way too much time playing the game or watching others play the game on a service like Twitch. In response to an outcry from parents, BBC Radio’s 5Live program devoted a segment to how to curb your child’s addiction to Fornite.
16. Consequences of Success
The popularity of Fortnite Battle Royale has led to Epic Games devoting more attention and people to help support the game. Many people had to be moved to the Fortnite team from Epic’s other titles, which has led to Epic Games announcing that they plan to shut down support for another of their games, Paragon, in April 2018.
17. Fortnite on the Final Exam
A group of Ohio high school students recently made a bet with their chemistry teacher: If their Tweeted challenge received 6,700 retweets, the teacher would have to change their final exam to feature exclusively questions related to Fortnite. The tweet was retweeted over 30,000 times, and as a result Mr. McCray must now incorporate Fortnite concepts into questions involving ionic bonds and the periodic table.
18. Compromised Accounts
Some Fortnite players reported that their Fortnite accounts may have been hacked as they were charged for premium add-ons and services that they did not purchase themselves. Epic Games stated that they were aware of the situation and were implementing safeguards such as two-factor authentication to prevent these fraudulent charges.
19. Celebratory Dance
One aspect of Fortnite that's getting quite a bit of press are the celebratory dances that players’ avatars can perform in game. Perhaps the most popular victory dance is the “floss”—a dance move first popularized on SNL by 15-year-old Russell “Backpack Kid” Horning. The dance requires one to simultaneously sway their hips and arms in opposite directions. Admit it: watching an animated avatar perform the dance is pretty darn endearing!
20. IRL Celebratory Dances
Not only does Fortnite incorporate victory dances from greater pop culture, but now Fortnite itself is inspiring victory dances on the sports field. A recent Bleacher Report article documents instances of soccer players and rugby league players incorporating elements from Fortnite, such as utilizing pick axes and using bandages to heal oneself, into their post-goal and post-try celebrations.
21. Showing Your Fandom on Your Feet
For a recent NBA game, Los Angeles Lakers guard Josh Hart decided to pay tribute to one of his favorite games by donning some Fortnite inspired sneakers. The shoes displayed his in-game avatar and an inscription stating “Eliminated by JoshHartNova". The custom Nikes were designed by popular sneaker designer Salvador Amezcua, better known as "Kickstradomis".
22. Biggest Sports Upset In History = Fortnite
In the 2018 NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, the 16-seed University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) pulled off one of the most improbable upsets in sports history by defeating the number one seeded University of Virginia in their first round matchup, the first time such a feat had been accomplished in the long history of the tournament. In a post-game interview, UMBC player Nolan Gerrity compared this historic hardwood achievement to “your first Fortnite victory". That's how good it feels to win in Fortnite, I guess.
23. Going After the Cheaters
Video game cheat codes have been around since video games themselves. To combat this, Epic Games has not been shy about going after players found to be cheating in Fortnite by banning from them the game, and in some cases even suing them in court. There was major controversy when one of the players brought to court by Epic Games was revealed to be a 14-year-old kid. Wait, I thought everyone online was a 14 year-old kid.
24. A Very Visible Ninja
Even before his now infamous celebrity-laden stream, Ninja had a large following of viewers. He's Twitch's most popular streamer, with over three million followers and over 100,000 paid subscribers. The paid subscribers, along with ad revenue and a popular Youtube channel, help Ninja earn over $500,000 a month! (Note to self: become better at video games and start a Twitch channel).