A look in to multiple factors summarising 2019 for Fortnite, both casually and competitively and the future for the game
The year, 2019, was perhaps the biggest year for the gaming and esports industry. Fortnite, being its greatest entity, experienced many ups and downs. A lot of things went down in the world of Fortnite, which is why we will be taking a trip down memory lane reliving some of those experiences and highlighting some key statistics of Fortnite for this year.
Rise of Competitive Fortnite
With the introduction of in-game events tab in the last quarter of 2018, it felt as if Fortnite was taking its first steps in the esports industry. Initially, only points and in-game trophies were awarded for spectacular performances but in the starting weeks of 2019, Winter Royale took place which commenced the tradition of cash prizes being awarded. Following the success of Winter Royale and a brilliant response from the community, Epic Games released an announcement for the first-ever Fortnite World Cup with a prize pool of $30,000,000 for the finals and $1,000,000 each week for the Qualifiers. The Qualifiers took place over 13 weeks and players who had outclassed their opposition in the Qualifiers won their way to the Grand Finals. Between 26 – 28 July, history was made: The concurrent viewers of Fortnite World Cup peaked at over 2.3 million across YouTube and Twitch, making it the most-watched competitive gaming event of all time. In-Game tournaments offering cash prizes are still taking place with the Winter Royale being the latest amongst them.
Analyzing this screenshot from Google Trends, it can be said that the trend in popularity is gradually depleting. Although there are periods of sudden increase, which are nothing but consequences of major updates occurring once a while. In comparison to the start of the year, the graph is lower than it should’ve been, but this change was perhaps foreseen. Here is why – Each new game piques the curiosity of a consumer, whom wishes to adopt it. They indulge in it and invests their time and money into it, but the game after a while becomes boring and monotonous and consequently, the consumer leaves the game and seeks new ones. Fortnite was able to maintain user interaction through new updates, but eventually, as suggested by the graph, the game will meet the same fate as its counterparts.
To keep the community engaged in the game, Fortnite has released many updates to alter properties of a specific weapon, introduce a new item or merely to improve the game’s stability and quality of life. But the update that stole the show was the Chapter 2 Update. After the season X of Fortnite, instead of moving to Season 11, Fortnite decided to switch things up and introduced a new Chapter and the season that followed, Season X, was the 1st season of Chapter 2. If you eye the Google Trends graph once more, you will realize a sudden uprising in the midst of October. This was when the transition between Chapter 1 and 2 took place. Season X was on the verge of conclusion and at the time specified for the next update, Fortnite went blank – like literally.
The Fortnite application displayed a black hole at launch, Fortnite’s social media platforms only portrayed a black hole as the profile picture and all the other posts were removed. The state of Fortnite was incomprehensible since no official statement was being issued. The community was bewildered and perplexed. For 3 days, the black hole was the only thing being shown. Finally, the servers were up and the new update was pushed out. The update was huge with many changes and improvements. These included revamping Arsenal, and most importantly -- a new map. Another highlight of this update was the addition of AI-generated Players (Bots) which were a solution to the increasing skill gap in Fortnite. But the highlight of this event was the drama surrounding this, and its unconventional method of release.
Fortnite being the #1 Grossing Battle Royale Game, is a great marketplace for big companies to promote their movie/game. 2019 was the best year for in-game events. Amongst the collaborations perhaps the biggest was Fortnite X Avengers: Endgame. This promotion brought marvel heroes to the Fortnite world and allowed players to use their items such as Thanos’ Gauntlet, Hawkeye’s arrow, Captain’s shield, Thor’s hammer, and Iron Man’s Repulsors. A month or two after Avengers event, Fortnite collaborated for the promotion of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. An LTM named Wick’s bounty and a new gun, the Tactical Assault Rifle, which was the primary weapon used by John Wick in his movies were introduced as a result of this collaboration. At 3rd place is the Batman collaboration. As a promotion of an upcoming game, Batman was added to Fortnite as a purchasable cosmetic and Tilted Towers was redesigned to match the likings of Gotham City. Last but not least, was the Star Wars event that took place as a part of Fortnite X Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. This event was overall encaptivating and the cherry on the top was the fact that shortly after the event had taken place Lightsabers were added into the game giving us a truly inter-galactic experience.
There are a lot of other things that are worth mentioning, like Free Battle Pass being awarded on Valentine’s Day, the community backlash on the addition of the M.E.C.H.S, development of Creative mode over the year and addition of new items. Since this article aims to highlight only the key points of Fortnite’s year in review it is difficult to probe into details and specifics of each topic.
It impossible to establish a firm statement for 2020, nevertheless a prediction can be made based on the game’s current state and analytics. If the popularity trends continue to decline, and no major updates or changes are made, players might consider switching to another game leading to an overall decrease in the number of active players.
Images via Epic Games