Where We Droppin’? How the Hottest Online Game, Fortnite, is Doing More Than Just Taking Over the Gaming Industry


Brett Lubliner, Staff Writer

Initially released as just a demo in July 2017, the video game Fortnite—created by Epic Games—was hoping to gain popularity before the full game was developed. The developers put the demo out for free download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, and Macintosh operating systems. Fortnite began gaining a more national recognition this past fall and became one of the top online games by the winter. The popularized part of the game, is the Battle Royale mode, that puts 100 players into an online session where they drop onto an island, collect weapons and try to survive as the last man standing, earning the highly coveted “Victory Royale!” that can be very difficult to attain. There are options to play solo, duos (with an online friend), and squads (with three online friends), with occasional special events such as an explosives only mode, 50 vs. 50 mode, and more. But when someone asks me what the game truly is, I simply say, “It’s a 100 player Hunger Games.”

What has been the appalling part of this experience is the very wide range of Fortnite players, and I mean very, very wide, I mean almost everyone has hopped on the Fortnite bandwagon. You think a lot of players were already on Fortnite? Well, that number increased tremendously when they came out with a mobile version for iOS and Android devices. The last update Epic Games gave out was at the beginning of February 2018, and that number was 3.4 million players. I think it’s a fair assumption to believe that number has gone up since then. The Fortnite movement is growing rapidly, so rapidly in fact, that on Fortnite Mobile, you have to wait to receive an access code so that they can control how many people have accounts linked with the app. Otherwise, the app would crash.

Modern teenage culture has been focused on Instagram, Snapchat, Kanye West, excessive phone usage, and now, Fortnite. People from all different places, sexual orientations, skin colors, and religions are being brought together by a shared love for this game. It connects people from the marching band to the lacrosse team, to drug dealers to science geeks, and to middle schoolers to college students. Just the other night I found myself playing Fortnite online with an eighth grader, who was the younger brother of a friend of mine who is a senior in high school. There are friendships being created through this game. In a time full of political discomfort and tensions between people, this game is bringing people together. There is something about the game that is very rewarding, and addictive. It is impossible to explain, but the game captures the minds of millions of people every day and the trend does not look like it will fade soon.

Los Angeles Lakers’ Josh Hart wearing customized Fortnite sneakers during an NBA game.

But it is not only teenagers who are suffering Fortnite mania. Celebrities have also shown a love for the game. In particular, music artists such as Drake, Travis Scott, Chance the Rapper, Joe Jonas have been a part of the phenomena, as well as some major league athletes such as Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics, JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons, and Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers, and even the comedian Norm Macdonald has found himself playing the game. All of these prominent figures in modern culture have expressed interest in playing the game or have shown themselves playing the game on social media. These are role models, people.

Fortnite has become a culture, and this culture is sweeping the nation. So as Fortnite brings together teens all around the country, we should all be amazed at the effect of this game. Whether you love or hate President Trump, whether you are smitten rich or dirt poor, whether you are from New York City or Cheyenne, Wyoming, whether you are black or white, whether you are a boy or girl, we can all agree, Fortnite is pretty awesome.