When Apex Legends was released and quickly acquired a massive userbase, some fans and industry figures wondered if this was the end of Fortnite‘s dominance. It certainly looked that way. Top Fortnite streamers were jumping ship, Fortnite‘s revenue was slowly dropping (also due to Black Ops 4‘s popular battle royale mode), and the general buzz around Apex Legends was that it offered many of the things that Fortnite did not.
Yet, there’s a feeling amongst some that Fortnite is just not going away. In fact, there are some who feel that Fortnite can remain as popular and relevant as Minecraft has.
While we’re hardly in the Minecraft glory days, the game is still played daily by a large number of users spanning a variety of demographics across the globe. Yop Minecraft YouTubers are still producing million view videos, and the game continues to enjoy a steady influx of new content.
There are many reasons why that’s the case, but there are a few to keep in mind. For one thing, Minecraft was popular among many ages but was especially popular among children and pre-teens. Minecraft was also incredibly easy to learn but offered more content than most other games. On top of all that, it’s available on just about every major device and continues to be supported by a studio with deep pockets.
When you break it down like that, you start to see the parallels between Minecraft and Fortnite. On the surface, Fortnite isn’t as accessible to a wider audience as Minecraft, but it has managed to become the one game that everyone from 10-year-olds to NBA stars actually spend a significant amount of time with. It’s also one of the few games-as-a-service titles which benefit from a steady stream of new content that genuinely adds quite a bit to the game.
That last attribute can be attributed to the persistence of developer Epic who have gone all-in on Fortnite in a way that very much matters. See, unlike Call of Duty: Blackout and Apex Legends (made by Activision and EA respectively), Epic doesn’t have much to fall back on. They need Fortnite to continue to be a success if they’re going to be able to keep the Epic Store (and maybe even the studio) alive.
Desperation doesn’t always equal success, but the point isn’t that Epic is desperate. The point is that Epic will give Fortnite the kind of attention that it needs if it’s going to continue to remain popular amongst the silent majority that makes Fortnite the phenomenon that it is. The streamers may jump to the next big thing, but those “casual” fans will find no reason to move away from Fortnite so long as it continues to enjoy new content.
That’s the thing about Fortnite that those looking for the next big thing will never fully understand. It has that core experience that keeps people addicted to the battle royale experience, but it has the added benefit of being the game that is played not only by mass market users but the friends of mass market users as well. It’s become a social experience as well as a piece of technology on par with the iPhone in the sense that its every new release is more of an event than the specifics of the technology itself would necessarily suggest.
We’ve seen multiplayer fads come and go, and Fortnite will certainly be challenged by other titles for years to come. However, it has simply spread too far and reached too deep to go away any time soon.