In a few days’ time one of the most anticipated events by gamers around the world will finally take place. The chat revealed PS5? A new Xbox Series X event where we will find out all about the console? The revolutionary secret announcement of SEGA? None of this. Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 3 will commence shortly, following the Doomsday event. For some readers, the fate of battle royale may seem much less interesting than the other events mentioned above, I realize. At the same time, I think it is one of the most important seasons for the Epic Games game and one of the most relevant moments for the whole market. Let’s see why.
Fortnite: Season 3 is the last chance?
First of all, I want to immediately specify that the writer is not a Fortnite fan. What’s more, he’s not even a casual Fortnite player. I have only played a couple of games during these years and I can safely say that it is a video game far from my strings, for multiple reasons that would require far too many lines to be analyzed. What matters is that I, objectively, do not have a great deal of direct experience of the game, its “subtleties” or the “goal”. In this article, however, this has no relevance as I don’t want to talk about elements such as a new content update, the complaints of the community or those of the pro-players, who have their priorities for professional tastes and needs.
All this, from my point of view, does not count. Fortnite’s success is no longer tied to the new weapon or skin: of course, the money comes mainly from the latter, but it is more a consequence of other factors. These individual factors (which I will shortly mention) are, however, in turn only a part of an identity or, if we want, of a commercial strategy that has changed over the years. This strategy must begin to implement massively during Season 3, before it is “too late”.
What am I talking about? Fortnite is no longer a game, it is a platform. Or rather, it is becoming so. The tweet, below, is from five months ago and exposes the issue in the most explicit way possible. Tim Sweeney himself, founder and CEO of Epic, says that yes, Fortnite is a game, but that the concept will have to be re-discussed within the successes of 12 months.
Fortnite is a game. But please ask that question again in 12 months.
– Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) December 26, 2019
How is Fortnite becoming a platform?
Obviously this is not a sudden process. The game of Epic Games cannot become something completely different within an update, also because a platform is not only given by its contents, but rather it is a consequence of the people who populate it. Fortnite has, however, already taken some steps in this direction, in a more or less “stealthy” way.
The transition to Chapter 2 was one of the first. The Black Hole of Fortnite was not only an interesting way (although not too original, let’s remember Final Fantasy 14 Online) to give the public a new map, or to slightly rejuvenate the technical equipment of the battle royale. It was a declaration of intent, a “things are changing here, get ready for a new Big Bang”. The first fruits of these ideas are well seen in this Season 2 and bear the name of Papaya involuntary play on words, ed) or the new map, and Royal Party, the mode that eliminates fights and the possibility of creating structures. This is not a small move, since these two elements are the heart of the identity of the “old Fortnite”.
Papaya and the Royal Party are intended to aggregate players who, at that time, do not want to compete in the “stressful” Royal Battle. You can relax with mini-games and meet up with friends, as in a sort of new PlayStation Home (how many remember?) In a simplified version. Papaya is also the place that Epic Games is exploiting to give its users (non-players, users) new content. Recently there has been a way of seeing the trailer of Tenet, the new film by Nolan, and an entire feature film by the same director will be played over the course of the summer. Let’s not forget then live concerts such as those of Deadmau5, Steve Aoki and Dillon Francis.
Instead of living these experiences on YouTube or Facebook, it was possible to do it “in person”, with your own avatar. Fortnite at that time was not a game, but it was a virtual environment in which it was possible to gather together with other users to experiment with contents of various kinds. Let’s not forget also the strength of the Creative Mode which, like what mods do in offline games or what Dreams aims to do (another example of a platform, rather than a game), is a source of user-generated content for users .
What is written above is, in a nutshell, the description of a platform. Tim Sweenet himself says: “Something is a platform when most of the content people spend time with is created by others. “
I’ll adhere to the 1990’s definition that something is a platform when the majority of content people spend time with is created by others.
– Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) December 26, 2019
Fortnite should therefore not be placed on the same level as an Apex Legends, a PUBG or a Call of Duty Warzone. It has already been in another type of market for some time, with new objectives and new strategies. Although it is obvious that Epic Games must continue to support the Royal Battle, to offer skins and therefore earn more than 3000 euros per minute in the most classic way possible, it is also true that by now it is not the main “concern” within the Epic studies.
Fortnite is evolving and with this Season 3 it has to prove that it has in mind what it wants to be and the way it wants to become it. Above all, it must communicate it explicitly and clearly to the public, and then make it definitive with Season 4 of the next autumn-winter. Season 3 is therefore the most important ever because will tell us definitively if Fortnite is destined to remain here even when the “fashion” of the battle royale is over or if instead it will fall under its own weight, as soon as the market turns its gaze in another direction.
If your main concern is, for now, recovering the new skins, you can take advantage of the opportunity to get some free v-buck with a refill of the console wallet: available on Amazon.