Out of Thin Air
Fortnite exploded into the mainstream in late 2017, on the heels of the much anticipated PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. While the full priced PUBG found success among gamers of the 18+ demographic, the more arcade style Fortnite title by Epic Games went positively viral. Marketed as something in between a pay-to-win casual game and a serious shooter, the cartoonish graphics and absurdist physics of the game made it an immediate hit among all demographics.
While certain aspects of the game are familiar to most gamers - building fortifications a la Minecraft, Rust, or Valnir Rok, third person shooter style similar to that of the second generation of Star Wars: Battlefront games, and the classic Battle Royale style which had until 2017 retained a small audience of niche gamers since the days of Quake - something about Fortnite broke the surface into the mainstream.
Most likely, it was the price tag; a whopping $0 to play on all platforms. While most of the games that the Millennial Generation grew up playing were a one time price (Call of Duty, Metal Gear, Ratchet and Clank spanned the entire generation and carried a new game price of $60), Fortnite has a free to play with paid upgrade platform. Perhaps as a result, the game is popular with a young audience.
The Perfect Collegiate eSport
Many games are played by young people at a higher rate than middle aged or seniors, but Fortnite takes this a step further. Nearly two in three Fortnite players are under 24. Compared to its main competitor within the genre, Fortnite captures a student audience of almost 20%, while only 12% of PUBG players reported student status on an international survey. So what does this mean for our clients?
Fortnite has 125 million players (equivalent to over one third of the entire United States population). Of that population 78,375,000 are under the age of 24, and that's with studies that only take into account people over 18. This means that a third of Fortnite players are college aged or younger. There is massive potential for Universities and even private high schools to put together eSports programs including Fortnite as a way not only to win money for their schools in competitions, but also to use these programs as a way to drive admissions. A school with a well funded and organized eSports team will be very attractive to aspiring Major League Gamers.