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How Fortnite sells out its community, community reacts to Season 4

(Image Credit: Essentially Sports)
(Image Credit: Essentially Sports)
Izaak
ANALYST
Modified 22 Aug 2020
Feature

Fortnite has been caught in a crossfire of its own making, and it’s becoming apparent that there's a growing disconnect between the creators of Fortnite and its players. As these issues are continually left to fester, that disconnect might be approaching a breaking point.


Fortnite Crossover Fever

Fortnite has been no stranger to crossover content, but lately fans feel like the crossovers are more common and get more attention than original Fortnite content. At a certain point, it starts to feel like Fortnite no longer has an identity of its own and would rather spend time chasing trends.

What may have at one point felt like an organic way for Fortnite to involve itself in popular culture has started to feel more and more like a cash grab at the expense of players. Let’s look at it from a few perspectives to understand why these crossovers happen, and why they might not be the best for the future of Fortnite.


Epic sells a product

One of the ways to look at this kind of content is from Epic’s perspective. These crossovers serve multiple purposes. First off, they work as marketing. Fortnite can run ads and generate excitement for a new season while also reaching out to new players who might not have played the game yet.

Because Fortnite is a free to play game, it relies on a constantly growing playerbase to maintain its position as the most profitable game in the world.

The other thing to consider is that Fortnite is large enough that outsiders are likely approaching Epic Games for these crossovers. It would be hard to imagine that Marvel could need help marketing its content, but by having Fortnite function as its marketing arm, Marvel stands to benefit as well.

Effectively, these crossover events are ways that Epic can sell Fortnite twice: once to the players looking for a game and once to the advertisers looking for ad space. The fact that Fortnite is able to get its community excited for advertisement shows how effective marketing in an interactive medium can be.


Fortnite isn’t their only product

However, advertising space is only as valuable as the number of people expected to see it. In this way, Epic might be selling Fortnite to you, but it’s not selling Fortnite to Marvel. What they are really selling is their community.

Epic sells its game to the players, its players to the advertisers, and then uses its advertisers to market the game. This cycle worked for a long time to their advantage, and wouldn’t be a problem itself, except that the Fortnite community is starting to become exhausted with it.

When Fortnite announced that its newest season would be Marvel-themed, the response wasn’t one of uniform excitement but more of a collective groan. Players don’t want to be sold a shoddy game just because it has Iron Man in it. They just want to play something fun.

Many are beginning to feel like Epic cares more about its crossover events than it does about its game, and if Epic doesn’t do something to address that soon, Fortnite might continue to fall.

Published 21 Aug 2020
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