Fortnite Phenomenon: the Unstoppable Rise of a Battle Royale Giant

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Updated: Sep 14, 2023
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I won’t tell you how much money I’ve spent in Fortnite, buying skins and pickaxes and stupid little dances for my character to perform. I’m not even very good at it, but I’ve lost track of the hours I’ve spent jumping out of that bus and getting shotgunned in the face. Fortnite was not a battle royale, to begin with, and it had a fairly slow start, perhaps due to being behind the paywall of owning the main game to get access to the battle royale function.

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The question is how did Fortnite become this popular?

After switching it up and making the Battle Royale mode free to use it had absolutely skyrocketed. Jumping out of the battle bus into a cartoon filled world where you must immediately get to work getting materials and guns to protect yourself. The addictive personality of the game makes it so much fun to play, there is nothing like getting a “dub” late at night with a squad of your best friends. While these are some small reasons as to why it has become so popular the main ones are, its free, it’s different, and it never stops evolving.

Normally you’d expect a free game to have some kind of paywall, (a Paywall true definition is “ an arrangement whereby access is restricted to users who have paid to subscribe to the site” however in games it’s somewhere during the game you’ll eventually feel the need to empty your pockets to get a better experience.) Not in Fortnite, nothing in the core gameplay is hidden behind a paywall. The paid stuff is all cosmetics. If you want to look like John Wick or the Raven, or an Easter Bunny or a leprechaun, there’s going to be money involved. But you can be as good as Ninja (The highest paid Fortnite player, bringing in just under 18 million last year) without paying a dime The games creator, Epic, is still making an obscene amount of money from Fortnite, though, because for whatever reason everyone wants those skins. Whether it’s buying the Battle Pass for the season or V Bucks (V Bucks are the in-game currency used to buy individual items), Epic is printing money. But, you can play for free and still have a great time. Your character just won’t look as cool. Being free also has other advantages. PUBG, Fortnite’s biggest rival, costs $30, and especially on Xbox. If you don’t have $30 to spend, or you just don’t think it’s worth it, Fortnite offers an alternative 100-player battle royale experience for zero money. That’s also a reason why it’s so popular with the younger crowd.

The battle royale formula is pretty consistent across the different titles, yet Fortnite has an instant twist on it thanks to the building mechanics. One of the main parts of the games that sets it apart is the ability to build. The straightforward building process with only 4 available “builds” (wall, floor, cone, ceiling) it’s not hard for anyone to pick it up with any problem. Building quickly became a staple in Fortnites gameplay. Simply put, if you can’t build, you’re not going to be very good. Watching the best players build a ridiculous structure in seconds, then still circle behind an enemy and deliver a well-timed blue pump to the head is a thing of beauty. It’s also bringing a very unique style to things. PUBG has quite realistic-looking surroundings and weaponry; Fortnite looks like a cartoon and has a disco bomb that makes your opponents dance.

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Fortnite Phenomenon: The Unstoppable Rise of a Battle Royale Giant. (2020, Jan 23). Retrieved from