A while ago, I said that Fortnite was turning into “Sponsorship Super Smash Bros.” with all its licensing deals adding in different famous characters into the game, from superheroes to guest stars from other games like Borderlands.
I was thinking too small.
This month, Fortnite had an event where they debuted a new Star Wars clip in-game. The clip itself was not significant, and was kind of terrible. The big deal was the rest of it. The clip was introduced by a soaring TIE vs. Falcon fight players were invited to attend. The clip was presented by JJ Abrams himself, complete with a custom avatar. And at the end, there was a message from Emperor Palpatine itself of such significance to the movie, it was actually in the opening crawl. And you could only hear it in Fortnite.
Fortnite is building something here. Something much, much bigger than a battle royale game.
Call it the Metaverse if you’re a Snow Crash fan. Call it the Oasis if you’re more into Ready Player One. But I fully believe that this is what Fortnite is building, a shared virtual world where players and brands and IPs all collide and coexist in a myriad of ways. For playing games, yes, but also for…everything.Today In: Innovation
The key distinction here is that this is not a virtual reality world. Not yet. The Metaverse and the Oasis both utilize ultra-immersive VR, and though VR does exist now, it is not ready for mass fortnite v bucks generator, mainstream adoption. So Fortnite’s Metaverse will just be a traditional experience on a screen, with perhaps VR to come further down the line after another decade or so in the oven.
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What I’m describing here is something akin to Second Life, the original virtual life sim, but built on Epic’s engine and using hundreds of millions of Fortnite players as a jumping off point. Not to mention the billions they’ve raked in from Fortnite’s massive success. You think they’re just spending all that on servers and skin development?
Observe any kid playing Fortnite and they’ll reveal that the game already exists as a sort of interactive social network, a bit like Minecraft before it. Yes, you play, but you are there to spend time with your friends.
Now, the corporate invasion of Fortnite is starting to distinctly remind me of Ready Player One in which players can choose virtual avatars to walk around in that are either original creations, or existing properties.
In the last two years alone, Fortnite has already formed relationships with massive corporations for skins that are now permanent fixtures in the game. To recap, in addition to all Fortnite’s original skins, we have:
- Black Widow and Star Lord from Marvel (with special guest Thanos, on occasion)
- John Wick
- Hopper and a Demigorgon from Netflix’s Stranger Things
- A Psycho from Gearbox’s Borderlands
- A wide range of NFL players in a licensed deal
- Batman and Catwoman from DC
- Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, Zorii Bliss and a few Stormtroopers from Star Wars
You get my point here. If Fortnite can land names this big to become permanent parts of their universe, pretty much nothing should be off limits. And it probably won’t be.