Fortnite-maker Epic Games has announced that the multi-platform multi-player game now has over 350 million registered users, as the game moves beyond its shoot-em-up gameplay and toward virtual concerts.

This is according to an announcement from the company, which stopped short of outlining daily or monthly active users, but did log 3.2 billion hours played on the platform.

After more than two and a half years since its release, the game appears to still be growing, well beyond the 200 million reported last year. As WARC explored last March, much of the game’s potency among young audiences was secondary to the gameplay, with skins and dances not only culturally important to kids and adults alike but also its main source of revenue. Skins have also become an interesting new space for brands as a 2019 Samsung campaign showed.

Still, Fortnite’s strength across platforms – it can be played on pretty much any device for free – also allows it to constantly update its gameplay and adapt to its new purposes.

The most recent change is Party Royale, a game mode with no guns or violence, just a space where players can meet, hang out, chat and watch live music.

As tech site The Verge explored recently, this new game mode, which last month featured a Travis Scott gig and will soon host DJs and artists performing for players, points to a deeper goal for the game: to become a digital social space, or ‘metaverse’. This Friday, at 9pm ET, Fortnite will feature DJs Steve Aoki and deadmau5 within the new party space.

At the beginning of lockdown, with people looking to scratch a social or conversational itch, many users began to download apps like Houseparty, which emulate a social space through small conversations or ‘rooms’. Fortnite takes this further into a space a lot of us have been craving during social videoconferencing: the sensation of sharing a space in which multiple conversations and interactions can take place.

Sourced from Epic Games, WARC, The Verge