A Series of Fort-u-nite Events
Whether you are an avid gamer or a frustrated teen who feels like your significant other is spending too much time on the newest video game craze, most adolescents have heard of the new sandbox survival video game known as Fortnite: Battle Royale by Epic Games. In summary, this game provides a platform for a mass online brawl; a hundred independent players collectively skydive onto a little island to battle each other until only one player remains. Scattered all over the island are hidden weapons and items, such as grenades and rifles, that the players may find while traversing different buildings in the areas located on the map. A player can even collect resources to build walls and stairs so as to hide or protect themselves. As the match progresses, the playable area of land is constantly diminished so that everyone is forced closer and closer to each other. The last man standing wins the match, which is almost always followed by a jubilant picture of the accomplishment posted on social media.
This game is free to download on PCs, game consoles, and now the App Store for all mobile devices. With over 45 million players, spectators could reasonably assume that Epic Games should set a price now in order to garner a massive profit. However, despite the nonexistent price tag, Fortnite has provided this company with a ridiculous payday since its inception, netting $15 million gross just in its first three weeks on the mobile devices platform; they see no reason to alter their plans. What is their monetization plan, and why has it been so successful?
Although the game is free, and users are able to unlock new items as they progress without paying anything, there are certain features exclusively available through purchase. For example, acquiring a Premium Battle Pass will provide the player with access to exclusive cosmetic items such as character outfits and emotes. This may seem useless since the clothes do not render the more powerful or provide a gameplay advantage. However, virtual attire is heavily desired because of the real sense of worth bestowed upon those who wear the more expensive outfits, similar to the pride of wearing a Gucci belt in real life. Fortnite also has a hundred tiers, and reaching each tier unlocks access to more items. In addition to completing PvE Challenges, Weekly Quests and logging into the game, all three of which are possible methods to leveling up tiers, it is also possible to buy new tiers individually so you can play them immediately.
These amenities can be purchased with V-Bucks, in-game currency that players can purchase and then use in the in-game store (which has new items added to it on a daily basis). A Battle Pass costs 950 V-Bucks, a sum that can be acquired in the bundle of 1,000 V-Bucks for $9.99. These V-Bucks last until the end of each season, at which point everyone must repurchase their passes again.
By making the game free to play, Epic Games allows players to become hooked on this game, an inevitable consequence since this game is a seamless combination of Minecraft and Call of Duty. Once this is achieved, players are heavily inclined to make these in-app purchases due to the sense that they saved money already due to the game being free. In addition, these acquisitions provide users the opportunity to feel a sense of entitlement among others. WIth all of these benefits, it is no wonder why Fortnite’s monetization strategy has been met with so much success. Though it did not invent the idea of in-app purchases, Fortnite has clearly perfected it, and many other apps will likely alter their plan for growth by mimicking these methods.