Profit stats be damned - Fortnite isn't going anywhere.
With Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 3 scheduled to roll out on June 4, 2020, it seems like the game is bigger than ever. After the Travis Scott "Astronomical Tour" garnered 27.7 million visitors to the game and "Fortnite Travis Scott concert" was a trending Google search during the week of the concert, fans and players alike wondered when the next event would take place. In 2019, the game made 1.8 billion dollars and is slotted to make even more this year, with the success of both the Astronomical and Party Royale concerts and the push of Fortnite as a more social platform.
Fortnite went from being a simple, 100 player battle royale and is slowly becoming more than that, especially to its 350 million user player base. Despite all of these incredible feats, however, many dissenters argue that it is a "dying game." They cite the fact that Fortnite made $3 billion in its first full year, 2018, and then dropped $1.2 billion in earnings in 2019.
However, what these players have to say disregards the amount that the game has progressed in that amount of time. Epic Games released several seasons in the past few years, each adding to the lore of the Fortnite world and introducing new elements of gameplay along the way. Additionally, Fortnite picked up a massive audience in terms of casual, loyal players in this span of time. It has now become a household name that both gamers and non-gamers recognize to some extent. From where Fortnite sits in 2020, it has become more than a game for some; it is a place to socialize, express oneself, and serves as an escape from the dullness of modern living. With how ubiquitous the game has become over the years, it is expected to earn more this year than the previous two years of its existence
Popular Fortnite streamers and influencers have given their input on the game as a whole, most of them concur that the game is doing better than ever, just not from a competitive angle. Streamers Ninja and SypherPK commentated on the current Fortnite discourse, stating that not as many influencers and esports competitors have been playing the game, however, the number of casual players has skyrocketed. Fewer jokes at the expense of low-level casual players have been made by Fortnite streamers, as well, which makes newer players feel less intimidated by the Fortnite player base.
A large part of the "Fortnite is dying" discourse is the fact that PC controller users had overpowered aim-assist on their side, making them significantly outperform players on other consoles or on keyboard. This unfair advantage discouraged many from playing and many Fortnite influencers, including Tfue, were extremely vocal about their frustrations regarding it. This backlash was so widespread that in a creator newsletter, Epic Games announced an update to aim assist in the next patch notes. This change will not take place until after the FNCS Invitational Finals, as Epic Games did not want to unfairly alter the game at the end of the tournament.
Most Fortnite players are controller players and are unhappy that these changes are coming to Fortnite, whereas many of the top influencers and competitive players are keyboard users. Despite the fact that a majority of their player base does not use a keyboard, Epic Games stepping in proves that they are listening to the very vocal group of players that make up the Fortnite influencer scene. Streamers such as Tfue and Ninja have not been playing Fortnite as much due to this unfair edge that non-competitive players have over them. Tfue has been occupied with Warzone and Ninja has been occupied with League of Legends, but both expressed interest in returning from their respective Fortnite breaks if the changes were made. Additionally, Ninja released a short, two-minute video to his Twitter, detailing his thoughts on the controller discourse. The video was met with mixed reception from both sides of the argument.
Fortnite, as a whole, has expanded greatly since its first season in 2017. Its overall map has increased in size, offering many different regions to explore and hang out with friends. In fact, the game as a whole has shifted from that of solely a battle royale to a social platform and a space to express oneself. Chapter 2 Season 2 brought massive changes to the overall Fortnite map by adding new POIs and increasing the scale of the map drastically. These massive changes, however, are not without their critique from influencers and players alike.
Ninja and SypherPK both commented on the state of Fortnite's expansive map. They noted that there are currently a lack of mobility items in this map, making it harder for players to traverse, particularly if they spawn in an inconvenient location. SypherPK brought up the point that the current map, despite the fact it is much bigger, has way less options for mobility than its more compact counterpart. POIs along the outer edges of the map are nearly inaccessible to players, for this reason, as if they choose to spawn there, then they might not be able to outrun the storm in time. SypherPK added that, for this reason, players would just choose to spawn in the centre of the map. This, in a way, nullifies the positives of having such a big map.
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Ninja had different points to bring up regarding changes that Epic Games should make to Fortnite. He is in favour of increasing the maximum number of players per match, in order to make matches more interesting. Call of Duty: Warzone features a maximum player count of 150, giving it an edge above Fortnite, in terms of its match size.
Despite these critiques of the overall game itself, both SypherPK and Ninja have come to the agreement that the game itself is doing better than ever. Influencers and competitive players might have vocalized their concerns, but that does not make the game itself bad or "falling out of style," rather, it just means that the game has evolved and will continue to do so as Epic Games look upon the feedback their players are giving them and use it as a means to improve. The core gameplay of Fortnite is evolving throughout the game's lifespan and old Fortnite with its compact map and sole focus on matches has become something new, with a narrative and constantly updating gameplay and new features.
With its massive player base and utterly astounding attendance, Fortnite is definitely not dying. Influencers are simply choosing now to comment on the game's issues so it can improve and thrive more than it ever has. It is clear from their in-depth commentary on the core gameplay that both SypherPK and Ninja want to see Fortnite reach its full potential and their feedback is simply a means for Epic Games to begin taking the steps to get Fortnite there.
Images via Epic Games