The Growing Popularity of Fortnite

Photo by Sergey Galyonkin at Gamescom 2017

Photo by Sergey Galyonkin at Gamescom 2017

“It’s just fun, like, it’s a thrill to play the game and finally get that #1 after hours of trying. It’s also fun to put it on your snapchat story to brag about it.” Sebastian Fidder, Class of 2018.

Fortnite is currently one of the hottest games at Moeller High School. Everywhere you go, you can hear teachers like Mr. Blum talk about it with his students. And you especially hear it in the student body at Moeller. But, I pose a question, why is Fortnite as popular as it is? There are so many other games that execute the same survival concept quite well, like for example, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). It’s the same concept as Fortnite, albeit a bit more difficult and a bit more realistic, but they’re essentially the same.

Fortnite is a game where you are dropped onto an island with 100 other players, and your goal is to make it to the number 1 spot, by eliminating all of your opponents. You grab weapons and gear that randomly spawns, stay in the play area as time goes on and the map gets smaller, and just try to live and be the winner.

The concept is nothing new, the idea itself is based off the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, or Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. The concept is the same exact thing: people are dropped into an area where they have to grab gear and live to win, as the area around them gets smaller. It’s something that’s nothing special, but the gameplay loop is so fun and rewarding that it keeps players coming back more and more to win. Fortnite is literally nothing special. It’s a concept that’s been seen and used plenty of times, but nothing is beating Fortnite or PUBG. So, why is Fortnite so popular?

Picture of the  Playerunknown's Battlegrounds  loading screen

Picture of the Playerunknown's Battlegrounds loading screen

One of the main reasons behind this is the fact that it’s free. For no charge anyone with a PC, Xbox One, or PS4 can download the game and start playing right away. Comparatively, the current cost of the similar PUBG on Steam, a web based game retailer, is $30. The barrier of entry for Fortnite isn’t a fee, it’s simply waiting for the game to download. Without having to pay money to get into the game, more people will feel enticed into actually playing the game.

One of the biggest reasons Fortnite is growing so popular is because of the availability of the game PUBG is a game that is only available on PC and Xbox One. The availability right there is only limited to 2 consoles. It restricts the already large PS4 player base from accessing this game. Most people probably don’t have a PC that’s powerful enough run PUBG. PC’s are a bit more expensive than consoles and with current shortages in the PC market (thanks to miners of crypto-currency), it’s harder than it really ever has been to build one. While PUBG is available on Xbox One, it still cuts out a good majority of players. Fortnite is available for every gaming platform, having more players spread across all consoles.

Finally, I believe the final reason that Fortnite is so popular is simply because, it’s fun. Now, I understand this is completely subjective and can be argued against, but it’s fun. The idea of fighting to the death and getting to that number 1 spot is so enticing to players. Games like PUBG and Fortnite revolve around the psychology of the near-miss theory from R.L. Reid, which is described as “a special kind of failure to reach a goal, one that comes close to being successful.” A player can consistently be one of the last few players left before getting taken out.  Each top ten finish feels like you're so close to winning, which makes Fortnite such a fun and addicting game. Yeah, you can lose, but once that win is finally achieved it’s a huge burden being lifted off your shoulders. It’s a gigantic accomplishment that the player wants to keep chasing.

Bryant Prescott