How Fortnite is revolutionising the marketing world

Insights / 29-10-2021


Video games have evolved drastically over the last ten to twenty years.  A new generation of online gaming platforms has changed the way users interact in the digital world, and with it, the way we do marketing.

The new league of online multiplayer games allow users to literally cross through and beyond reality to explore new dimensions; whether they want to compete against friends, discover new universes (even create their own), or watch a live gig with Travis Scott…. games like Fortnite have it all. In truth, the best way to define this type of game is like a “fusion” or melting pot of many genres, which attracts every age group and satisfies nearly every mood. Players nowadays do not have to choose between gaming, music, friends, and events – they can have it all in one place.

The nature of video games being always open, everywhere, full of friends, personalised and not bound by the laws of physics, lets brands interact with consumers in the most unique and dynamic way we have ever seen. For that reason, Fortnite has reinvented the way we consume entertainment to the point where artists and brands have used the platform to generate awareness.


A beginners guide to Fortnite

In 2020, Fortnite reached 350 million users across the globe. Around the same time, the game captured the attention of artists like Marshmello and Travis Scott who performed live gigs on Fortnite for over 10 million players each. But what exactly is it and how did players watch a concert through there?

Fortnite is an online multiplayer game with 4 different game modes (Battle Royale, Party Royale, Creative, and Save the World). The most popular one is Battle Royale where 100 users are dropped into an island and battle until there is only one remaining. This game mode is constantly being updated as “seasons”. Each one of the seasons includes new items, special events, and themes to the island. A good example is a collaboration between Disney and Epic Games that launched the Avengers limited edition mode in 2019, in which players could collect the Infinity stones and fight as Thanos.

Fortnite is popular because of its social dynamics. Yes, within the game, things can get pretty competitive. Players can fight against each other as individuals or in teams and compete in worldwide competitions. The 2019 Fortnite World Championship, in particular, got huge media and press attention.  The winner of the Fortnite World Cup 2019 solo event took home $3m (USD), in comparison to Novak Djokovic who took $2.7m after winning the 2019 Wimbledon tennis tournament.

And, Fortnite: Battle Royale is not only about battling other players anymore, Fortnite’s creators have created Creator mode (say that 10x fast) to allow for their users to build environments to play, dance and emote in. Furthermore, the game made history in 2019 by experiencing the first live concert on a platform of its kind. Marshmello teamed up with Epic Games to hold a virtual concert, where players online would be transported automatically to the online venue (You can watch it here). This live concert would be the first one of many to come. In fact, these events have been so popular on the platform that the O2 arena was brought to Fortnite’s map so artists could perform live. However, not only can gamers watch live performances, in the Party Royale mode, users were able to queue up and enjoy an in-game movie night dedicated to Christoper Nolan films. Further proving that the gaming industry is thriving and becoming a crucial player in the global economy. In the UK alone, this industry generates 47,620 full-time equivalent jobs.

Fortnite is shifting the paradigm. Post-Fortnite, we must consider the essence of socialising in a modern world. Fortnite is creating a new reality, a metaverse (here our thoughts on this here). Fortnite is shaping a new form of mainstream culture. Its backbone built of music, casual gaming, digital asset creation, and attending events in a digital realm.

Back in 2018, a then record-setting 230,000 people watched Tyler “Ninja” Blevis, Drake and Travis Scott play Fortnite together on Twitch. This event wasn’t just about breaking records, it was about making video games mainstream.

No longer was it uncool to be a gamer. Drake and Travis Scott are gamers. They are gaming with a pro gamer. The talent is having a good time building Forts, riding rockets, and performing trick shots.

This acted as a natural conduit for Travis Scott to perform his greatest trick; debuting a song in Fortnite itself. The video of the event is phenomenal. If you’ve seen it, you know why it’s a game-changer. 160M views and counting on YouTube.

Astronomical (see picture below) was a demonstration that Fortnite isn’t just a battle royale third-person shooter. It’s a universe in itself where people can launch records, do cinematic partnerships like the Avengers, or sell NFL jerseys to grid-iron fans.

Why are brands paying so much attention to Fortnite?

The reason brands need to pay attention is two-fold:

  • One, this is where the eyeballs are and where the future lies.The growth of most brands lies within the 18-34 years old demographic and these folks are engaged and passionate gamers.
  • Two, Fortnite is a whole new world. This means that the sponsorship, partnership and activation opportunities are as limited as the imagination.

Brands can create branded skins and outfits, special emotes and dances or spray paint to be plastered on the world. Or they can go deeper. Fortnite’s creator mode means that digital architects and content creators are able to bring brands to life on a structural and environmental level.

This means that the activation is seamless. It isn’t advertising to gamers, it’s just a mirror of the real world (full of advertising). This way, the activation isn’t perceived as an intrusion, but rather a companion. When creating a marketing campaign on these new platforms it is always crucial to remember how your brand could create real value for the community in these worlds.

A good way to approach this potential minefield is to partner with creators who understand the landscape and the games. Creators engage more with the audience on a personal level, so they have insights that the brand might not have. Let the influencer inform the agency on the campaign creatives. They literally play video games for a living. They probably understand what is cool and trending better than the marketer – let the expert lead.

Fortnite is the closest thing we have got to the metaverse. This means that brands can be a core part of the gaming experience since simulated reality can be full of commercially interesting and viable events that improve the gamer/ consumer experience – just like the real world. Influencers can be the key to open this world full of possibilities, so it is important that you have an influencer strategy and campaign that works with you and the influencer.

If you are planning to enter the gaming space, we implore you to do so with the help of content creators who are familiar with the titles and trends. If you need help understanding the difference between Twitch and Trovo, Fortnite and Call of Duty, FIFA and PES or League of Legends and DOTA2, give us a call. Edge’s blade was forged in the fires of gaming.

We can help you navigate your path around the industry and make sure you don’t do something that turns into a meme and ends up in your bosses’ inbox.

And if you decide you’d like to work with influencers and understand their performance. We can help with that too. We can show you which influencers’ content is performing best, during the campaign. That will allow you to be reactive and create a trending hashtag… also ending up in your bosses’ inbox, but for different reasons.

Book a platform demo here.