For a cartoonish free-to-play game with no franchise cache, Fortnite has truly exceeded all expectations.
The Epic Games shooter was among the first to enter the lucrative battle royale arena, and while it’s prompted a whole bunch of less-than-stellar imitators, Fortnite remains the one true king of online gaming. Case in point: Epic now presides over 250 million players worldwide, and has no intentions of taking the foot off the pedal.
During the 2019 Game Developers Conference, Engadget caught up with Tim Sweeney, editor and founder of Epic Games, to discuss the resounding success of Fortnite, the Epic Games store, and why so many female gamers are flocking to the generation-defining title.
It’s a real game. It’s a shooter. It’s worldwide. It’s the first shooter with a huge female population. Somebody estimated it at roughly 35 percent, which is unprecedented — why isn’t it 50? — but it’s unprecedented for anything like this. It’s because it brings together players in a social experience.
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Sweeney was one of the founding fathers behind Fortnite, so it’s fair to say that he knows exactly what makes the shooter tick. He’s also prepared to support his million-dollar baby long into the future – even if that future winds up turning towards streaming platforms like the recently-unveiled Google Stadia, which will, in theory, allow players to enjoy mainstream titles on any device that supports Google Chrome.
There are the problems we solve, and then there are the problems that the platform companies solve and we just work with them on it. Streaming is one of those, right? Streaming is something that’s going to require tons of billions of dollars of investment, building server farms close to users and 5G and everything else. That’s above our pay grade, but what we will do is we’ll support it with our games.
After just two years, Fortnite has entered the gaming pantheon as one of the biggest games of our generation. Whether it holds that place for much longer, though, is another question entirely – particularly with frenzied shooters like Apex Legends nibbling away at its global player base.