Business

It’s Fortnite’s World Now. At E3, Everyone Wants a Piece of It.

Posted June 12, 2018 1:58 p.m. EDT

For the video game world — an industry with an estimated revenue of $25 billion in the United States last year — one of the biggest events of the year is E3, a convention where developers unveil their latest and greatest products. This year the spotlight is shining on a single blockbuster: Epic Games’ Fortnite.

The biggest news to come out of E3 will almost certainly be that Fortnite will be available on Switch, the console that has made Nintendo the comeback kid of the industry. So what is all the fuss about?

A Fortnite primer: For the uninitiated, it’s an online game where hundreds of players duke it out in a battle royale set on a post-apocalyptic Earth. It’s free to play, but lets players spend money on upgrades within the game.

It’s big money now: Fortnite reportedly generated nearly $300 million worth of in-game sales in April.

More money later: Many people think that Fortnite is becoming the next big phenomenon in esports. Epic certainly wants to make that happen: The developer will provide $100 million in prize money for Fortnite competitions in the 2018-2019 season. Popularity in esports could help the game gain more players — and make more cash, too.

More on that esports angle from Tyler Erzberger of ESPN, who here is writing about esports player Tyler “Ninja” Blevins:

Although Epic Games hasn’t made any concrete plans when it comes to its wildly popular game and esports, one thing trumps all: viewership. Ninja’s live event at the Esports Arena in Las Vegas had more than 600,000 concurrent viewers on Twitch, and when there’s that much fascination with a game — even if it was centered around the biggest name currently in video games — it can only mean good things when it comes to esports.

A word of caution: Nick Statt of The Verge offers a warning about Fortnite’s current dominance:

Fortnite has shown the game industry a new formula. And as the events of the past few days have illustrated, it’s only a matter of time before someone inevitably comes up with another new and exciting idea that takes over the world — or at the very least does it better than the original.