Is Fortnite the ‘Real’ Metaverse?

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As the race to dominate the metaverse gathers momentum thanks to the entrance of the big technology behemoths into the metaverse ring, its looking like the new world already had a crowned king.

Fortnite, the popular metaverse game, is definitely way ahead ahead of competition. The gap is so wide that some people jokingly believe Fortnite is the metaverse.

“The metaverse is already here… and it’s called Fortnite,” Owen Williams, a technology writer quips. 

It’s pretty simple why he can be tempted to think like that.

Fortnite beats Meta

Fortnite, which was first released in 2017, is now so popular that it has grown to more than 350 million registered players. On some days, a total of 15 million of these 350 million players simultaneously log in to enjoy the game.

This is an epic feat (no pun intended.)

Is Fortnite the ‘Real’ Metaverse?

On the other hand, its richer competitors such as Meta Platform’s Horizon World are struggling to push its numbers to just a million.

In fact, a million is an overly gracious number for Horizon World.

Now, Horizon World has only 200,000 players from a peak of 300,000.

But the tech giant is still in the race.

Meta, which began its quest to conquer virtual reality with the acquisition in 2014 of VR headset maker Oculus VR, has largely done well with its VR headsets.

Its Quest headsets are moving pretty fast while it’s Quest Store has become a fast-growing platform with more than 400 apps available to download.

King of Cool

Fortnite, on the other hand, is undoubtedly the coolest virtual hangout and its video game is accessible and doesn’t require a VR headset. For Meta’s Horizon Worlds, a headset is a must have while Fortnite is free and available on every gaming device and phone in the world.

When the game was first launched, it was about forming barricades against vast swathes of marauding enemies. After it added a battle royale mode where as many as 100 players join the battleground and battle it out until only one player remains in 2017, the game has become a wildly popular.

Sensing the need to engage more with its legion of players in the game, Epic Games quietly started building virtual spaces in the gameplay for players to chill, interact and socialize. 

Is Fortnite the ‘Real’ Metaverse?
A player can simply immerse himself/herself in the (VR) area of cities, islands, forests, and deserts.

As time went by, the VR space within its gameplay had matured with more features being added.

One can also go “fishing” or get into a car and go on a road trip or if one has a taste for the aquatic one can be on a boat in any of the lakes of the map.

Virtual Music Concerts

Epic Games has been hosting music concerts in its “metaverse” for a while now. And they have proven to be popular.

The gaming company shook the industry when it hosted EDM producer Marshmello for a live in-game concert.

Following the overwhelming success of the Marshmello’s concert, the company went on to get other big names in showbiz such as Travis Scott and Ariana Grande. Naturally, millions of players/viewers attended.

What is Fortnite’s Appeal?

But what makes Fortnite hot? Where does the allure come from?

It’s major drawcard has been its ability to bring people together. To date, no other free to play game has been able to replicate its succcess. 

For all intents and purposes, Fortnite has outgrown its limitations of being just a game and has transcended into a virtual universe where millions of people literally convene and hang out.

In a way, its simplicity has been its competitive advantage.

With no fancy VR or some sort of gear, millions of people found themselves hanging out, catching up with mates in-game, and having fun.

And without claiming to change the world, its “metaverse,” has quietly already starting to do what its peers are trying to achieve.

This is an area that many game developers and researchers are currently exploring, and it’s likely that we will see more advances in this area in the coming years.


Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.