With over 200 million registered players, celebrity and sports aficionados, Epic Games’ Fortnite and mass participation video games that function across platforms are gaining traction among Generation Z in particular. Here’s what you need to know.

A WARC Trend Snapshot on Fortnite and the rise of mass-participation games explores how the game has influenced culture at several important levels, not least an emote – celebratory dance – from the game that featured as a celebration in the FIFA World Cup Final.

It is popular among both players and viewers. In January 2018, the game had 45 million players, but by November 2018 that number had rocketed to 200 million. Audiences are also huge. During the most recent Season finale, five million players took part while four million more watched on Twitch or YouTube.

It’s a pretty straightforward shoot-em-up game that has managed to synthesise elements of other games into a powerful combination. It has interesting tendrils, though: Antonie Griezmann’s dancing in the World Cup Final, for instance, is an ‘emote’, or a celebration that a player can use after they have claimed an enemy – these are available to purchase.

These are a crucial part of the game, as are the cosmetic skins that players can buy from the in-game store. Not only are these the most culturally relevant parts of the game, but they are one of the few parts that brands have become involved in. The NFL, the American Football league, has partnered with Epic Games to make skins for users to put on their characters in the colours of NFL teams.

This kind of involvement is currently quite limited, but the NFL deal suggests there is space for external involvement. Some of the most visible areas in which brands can get involved surround the wider – and growing – world of eSports, which are growing.

In this context, as with in-game ads, caution is advised and brands would do well to try to approach the game as fans and not as advertisers: enhance the experience if possible and speak to gamers on their terms.

Sourced from WARC