DON’T UNDERESTIMATE ‘FORTNITE’S’ INFLUENCE AS EPIC GAMES LAUNCHES NEW SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
Over the past few years, Epic has transformed Fortnite into an experimental playground, hosting in-game concerts from stars like Travis Scott and DJ Marshmello as well as crossover events with major Hollywood brands like The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet.
Epic’s continued emphasis on malleability for the Fortnite platform has influenced other games and helped them find success. Fortnite’s first in-game concert featuring DJ Marshmello garnered an impressive 10.7 million concurrent players so it’s not hard to imagine other developers taking notice.
In particular, the battle pass model, with its affordable price and simple level-up and reward system, was popularized by Fortnite when it first launched in December 2017. Although similar concepts sprung up in the mobile game market in the years prior — in which players could purchase special plans that rewarded levels for completing specific progression goals — it wasn’t until Fortnite premiered its battle pass where both level progression and timed-exclusivity were combined to create a much more enticing offering to players. The move paid off for Epic, as, by June 2018, Fortnite saw a total of 125 million registered users, a more than 300 percent increase from the month of the first battle pass launch.
It wasn’t long before other games adapted similar offerings under varying names. PUBG Mobile launched their Royale Pass in June 2018, resulting in a 365 percent increase in player spending within one week. By September of that same year, Rocket League added their Rocket Pass which was seemingly successful enough that Psyonix ditched their loot box and crate system entirely the following year. Games like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Dauntless, Rocket League, Paladins and more also followed suit and adapted battle passes long after their initial launch.
Fortnite pushing a new subscription-based model could be the next big hit that influences the wide range of currently active multiplayer games. Truthfully, there’s nothing too revolutionary about a few extra rewards for a small payment every month. It’s a service that games like Dota 2 and its Dota Plus service and Planetside 2 and its premium membership have already done for years and continue to provide. What sets this new service apart is the special exclusivity that comes with being a member of Fortnite Crew, as outfits claimed during a specific month will only be available to subscribers.
What Fortnite and its powerful reach can do is provide the confidence to similar free-to-play online multiplayer games to adapt to this new model. Warframe, a game that’s seen continuous growth since it launched as a free-to-play game in 2013, adapted a free battle pass counterpart to go along with their push to get players to purchase Platinum, the game’s in-game currency. If Fortnite Crew is a success, perhaps Warframe will once again follow suit and find a way to incorporate a similar service.
The ever-evolving Destiny 2 lacks an optional monthly subscription, but its constant self-examination and ability to adjust based on popular trends shows that it might be waiting for the right sign to test out something new. Destiny 2 made the jump to free-to-play in 2019 after originally launching as a paid game in 2017. Following Fortnite, live in-game events in which players log in and watch a game-changing spectacle made their debut in Destiny 2 in June and continued with the most recent Beyond Light event earlier this month.
Games as a service continue to evolve and test what works and what doesn’t, but Fortnite‘s influence can’t be denied. With Epic Games continuing the charge on seeing new and unique ideas through, the rest of the game development world has a chance to watch and study risk-free.
Photo courtesy of Epic Games