Fortnite Battle Royale
|Fortnite Battle Royale|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
Fortnite Battle Royale is a free-to-play battle royale video game developed and published by Epic Games. It was released as an early access title for Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in September 2017, for iOS in April 2018, the Nintendo Switch in June 2018, and an Android version in August 2018. It is a spin-off from Epic's Fortnite: Save the World, a cooperative survival game with construction elements.
As a battle royale game, Fortnite Battle Royale features up to 100 players, alone, in duos, or in squads of up to four players, attempting to be the last player or group alive by killing other players or evading them, while staying within a constantly shrinking safe zone to prevent taking lethal damage from being outside it. Players start with no intrinsic advantages, and must scavenge for weapons and armor to gain the upper hand on their opponents. The game adds the construction element from Fortnite; players can break down most objects in the game world to gain resources they can use to build fortifications as part of their strategy. Limited-time modes are cycled through the game that introduce experimental or unconventional gameplay but otherwise follow the battle royale "last player standing" goal. The game features cross-platform play between the platforms that was limited for the first five seasons, before the restrictions were eased.
The idea for Fortnite Battle Royale arose following the release of the similar battle royale game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which saw numerous player count records broken throughout 2017. Seeing its rapid growth and commercial success, Epic Games saw the opportunity to create a battle royale mode of their own. Originally released as part of the paid Fortnite game, Epic spun out a dedicated version of the game offered as free-to-play funded by microtransactions, sharing in-game currency with the main Fortnite game, allowing players to buy or earn cosmetic items to customize their character. As of July 2018, the game has seen over 125 million players, and has been estimated to have earned more than US$1 billion in microtransactions, outcompeting PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Fortnite Battle Royale has become a cultural phenomenon, with Fortnite streams achieving record-high viewerships, and with several celebrities and athletes stating their appreciation of the game.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Development
- 3 Professional competition
- 4 Reception
- 5 Lawsuits
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The main gameplay for Fortnite Battle Royale follows the battle royale genre's standard format. The game normally is played either with each player on their own, or in a squad of two to four players, with up to 100 players participating each round. The round starts with players, weaponless, skydiving from floating buses ("Battle Bus") then deploying a glider onto a region of land. The island's fixed layout includes several landmarks and locations (named in an alliterative fashion, such as "Loot Lake", "Tilted Towers", and "Retail Row") that are mostly ghost towns, while a random distribution of weapons, shields, and other combat support features can be found by searching buildings and other sites. The goal is to be the last player or team alive by eliminating or avoiding other players. Over time, the game's safe zone (representing the eye of a storm that is ravaging the world), decreases in size, and players caught outside the zone will take damage, potentially dying. This directs the surviving players into tighter spaces, forcing player encounters. Players can loot defeated enemies for equipment. Random supply drops will occur during a match, providing random weapons and items. Like in the original Fortnite game, Fortnite Battle Royale is primarily played in a third-person perspective, and there is no current way to change it.
Fortnite Battle Royale's primary distinction from other battle royale games is the building system, which originated from the original Fortnite survival game. Nearly all objects in the environment can be destroyed and harvested for materials (wood, stone, and metal), which can then be used to build fortifications of limited durabilities, such as walls, ramps, floors, and roofs, which can be used to help traverse the map, protect the player from gunfire, or slow down progression of other players. Weaker pieces can be destroyed in a few hits, but can be built quickly, while stronger pieces can withstand more punishment, but take longer to build.
The game is free-to-play, supported by microtransactions that allow players to buy "Vinderbucks", "V-Bucks" for short, the game's internal currency. V-Bucks are also shared with the main Fortnite "Save the World" game, which offers players the opportunity to earn V-Bucks by completing missions or daily quests. V-Bucks can then be used to buy cosmetic improvements to the player (character, pickaxe and glider skins, back-wear, and emotes). The game is run as seasons, lasting about 12 weeks each. Each season introduces a new set of cosmetic items that can be obtained, which otherwise are not available outside that season. These are offered through a dual-track battle pass, which present a number of tiers that a players climbs through by earning experience through completing in-game objectives and their general performance during matches, while acquiring cosmetic rewards or other items in the process. Each player has access to the "free" track of the Battle Pass, which offers fewer prizes that must be earned by clearing multiple tiers, while players can also purchase the Pass' "premium" track with V-Bucks (roughly costing US$10), which offers more diverse challenges and grants prizes for every tier the player clears. Players can use V-Bucks to complete tiers as well once they have a Battle Pass.
Since release, Epic Games has added more features, such as new weapons, vending machines, and small, makeshift vehicles, such as shopping carts and golf carts. Epic is also able to deploy hot-fixes to the game to adjust aspects like weapon attributes and distribution, pushing these out in minutes if necessary should they or players discover critical issues or glitches.
Limited time and competitive modes
Epic has the ability to include limited time modes (LTM) within the game, which provides Epic with experimental capabilities and gain feedback from players to improve upon. One of its earliest additions was a 50-v-50 mode, placing players randomly on one of two teams and dropping them on opposite sides of the map, giving the two teams time to gather resources, create fortifications, and hunt the other team before the storm moved in. Shortly after the launch of the film Avengers: Infinity War, Epic ran a Marvel-sponsored event that featured the Infinity Gauntlet that randomly spawned on the map; any player that equipped it became Thanos with added abilities. A sandbox Playground LTM was introduced in June 2018, which allows up to four players to explore and build anything anywhere on the battle map, while being able to fight each other and respawn upon defeat until the storm covered the map after an hour and eliminated them all; Epic later made this a permanent mode in the game.
Epic has stated that they intend to add ranked competitive play in the future. A preliminary competitive mode, Solo Showdown, ran for a limited time starting in May 2018, ranking players by their final placement in matches and rewarding the top-placing competitors with V-Bucks.
Fortnite Battle Royale has created a larger loose narrative that is exhibited through changes in the game map, which generally correlated to the start and end of the in-game season. For example, in the lead up to the fourth season which started in May 2018, players saw a number of shooting stars cross the skies, followed by a giant comet that neared the ground; upon the start of season four, the comet had hit one of the locations on the map, leaving a giant crater, among other changes. This tied into several new cosmetic skins related to superheroes and super-villains that were available that month. Epic has the ability to create custom events that occur across all game servers simultaneously as well; the first example of such was a countdown leading to a giant rocket's launch in June 2018 which, in the aftermath, left cracks in the skies that have grown since that event.
The game initially launched without any seasonable schedule, but starting with the release of Season 2 in December 2017, Epic has provided new content, which includes new cosmetics, new gameplay elements, and changes to the game's map, on a roughly 10-week basis. This also introduced the use of the battle pass for players to obtain some of this new content by completing challenges and gaining experience.
|Season 1||September 2017 – December 2017||Retroactively considered the first season upon the start of second.|
|Season 2||December 2017 – February 2018||Introduction of the battle pass. Medieval themed.|
|Season 3||February 2018 – April 2018||Space-themed.|
|Season 4||May 2018 – July 2018||Superhero Movie-themed season. Leading up to the start of Season 4, players had observed shooting stars crossing the game's map during Season 3, which later became small meteorites that hit the ground and caused some damage. Across all games a large meteor also started to appear, on track to hit the game map to coincide with the start of Season 4, completely destroying one of the major landmarks.|
|Season 5||July 2018 – September 2018||Time travel-themed season. Prior to this season, Epic established a one-time event across all games on June 30, 2018 that fired a rocket from a villainous lair which created interdimensional rifts on the map. The rifts grew over the next few days, with some in-game objects disappearing and new objects from other time periods appearing. As part of its marketing, Epic planted a real-world version of the "Durrr-Burger" restaurant sign in the California desert, with clues pointing to locations of real-world version of the game's loot llamas located around the world. The season started with changes of the map due to these rifts, while the rifts remained as a gameplay element within the season, teleporting the player to a high elevation and to re-land elsewhere in the map.|
|Season 6||September 2018 – present||Darkness and corruption themed. Near the end of the fifth season, another one-time event occurred in which the rifts created by the rocket launch closed up, leaving a large purple cube with glyphs on its surface in the game world, which players nicknamed "Kevin". Kevin slowly moved on its own across the map, in certain spots leaving behind glyphs that created low-gravity playing areas. Kevin ended its journey by falling into Loot Lake, turning its water purple and making it a bouncy surface. At the start of the sixth season, the skies above the map darkened and Kevin re-emerged from the lake, lifting Loot Lake's island and mansion high into the air and occasionally moving it to different places above the map. The lake is then renamed "Leaky Lake", becoming a whirlpool that levitates anyone who approaches it. Several other places on the map became "corrupted" where players could find Shadow Stones which makes them temporarily invisible, able to move faster, and pass through objects, but unable to use weapons. Through the course of the season, the floating island moved across the map to the spots where Kevin had left the glyphs, pulling up a small part of the land as a miniature floating island in its wake. Eventually, the glyphs of seven floating islands were activated, sundering the mansion and the island that Kevin was levitating and scattering pieces of the cube across the map, which then summoned transdimensional alien creatures named "Cube Monsters". The Monsters become a new side threat to all players, similar to the Zombies in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's Blackout mode, and can easily be slain with special weapons for loot and shield boosts. Days after the alien incursion began, Kevin became unstable and finally exploded, destroying the island it was holding and teleporting all players into a white, bottomless void, where a Rift-shaped butterfly appeared. Players then touch the butterfly and are promptly beamed back to the game world, where Leaky Lake changes back into a normal lake with multiple small islands containing a stonehenge made from the remnants of Kevin.|
Fortnite had first been revealed by Epic Games in 2011, considered to be a combination of Minecraft and Left 4 Dead as four players would work together to scavenge resources to built fortifications, traps, weapons, and other objects to survive monster attacks. The game ended up with a protracted development period, in part due to both external pressures, with the industry transitioning to a games as a service model, and internal shifts of focus within Epic (including focusing attention on their first free-to-play title Paragon) to meet the external challenges. During this period, Epic made a deal with Tencent, giving them about 40% of the company in exchange for their support for the games as a service approach as well as ready access to the Chinese video game market. Fortnite was confirmed to have a planned 2018 release in June 2017, with a paid early access period starting a month later; the game is planned otherwise as a free-to-play title supported by microtransactions. With release in early access, the game featured its primary gameplay mode, "Save the World", where players in teams up to four would work cooperatively to survive and complete objectives on randomly generated maps.
During the latter part of Fortnite's development, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds was released in March 2017 on personal computers in early access, and quickly became a popular and successful game, becoming the defining example of the battle royale genre. According to Mustard, the Epic team "loved Battle Royale games like [Battlegrounds]", and explored how they could make a similar mode within Fortnite's engine. They kept this mode in a separate development team from the main player versus environment modes for experimentation and as to not throw off the balance in the main game. The Battle Royale mode development was led by Eric Williamson with Zack Estep as production lead. Their goal was to develop the Battle Royale mode quickly from the core "Save the World" mode, putting off any complex features that weren't already in place as to launch the new mode as soon as possible; while they explored such potential ideas, they held off inclusion until after the main mode was launched. The development of the Battle Royale mode took about two months starting in July 2017 after the "Save the World" mode had shipped, and was aided by the Unreal Tournament team. Key differences for Battle Royale that differed from "Save the World" included a more limited progression for weapons, a small subset of traps, and a smoother, more natural terrain for the maps. They also wanted to aim for games not taking longer than 25 minutes, which led to some decisions of which elements from "Save the World" would not carry over. They had including Fortnite's building mechanic for fortifications, not sure how players would use that since the safe zone would continue shrinking, but found quickly that the mechanic helped to distinguish the game from Battlegrounds and was used by expert players frequently to win matches, and had since implemented more features to help players with rapidly constructing temporary bases.
In those two months of development, Epic's plan was to include Battle Royale within the paid Fortnite game, and originally announced this approach publicly in early September 2017. Only two weeks before it was released did Epic decide to make it a separate free-to-play title, fearing that having it as part of the paid package would slow down the growth of the title. Epic announced this change formally about a week after first announcing Battle Royale, allowing those that had purchased early access to Fortnite in anticipation of this mode to request refunds. This release, which beat out Battlegrounds to consoles, caused some concern with Battlegrounds developer Bluehole, as they had been working closely with Epic for Unreal engine support in Battlegrounds, and were worried that Fortnite might be able to include planned features to their Battle Royale mode before they could release those in Battlegrounds.
With the popularity of Fortnite Battle Royale by the start of 2018, Epic split off a separate development team to focus on improvements for this mode. Epic said that their attention to Fortnite was causing some of their other games to see lower player populations, leading them to reduce development efforts on these games, particularly Paragon. By the end of January 2018, Epic announced it was shutting down Paragon by April of that year, providing refunds to all players. Players on a Fortnite-dedicated Reddit forum had expressed concerns that a similar fate could befall the Save the World mode of Fortnite, as externally, the Save the World mode has not received the same attention in providing updates and improvements compared to the Battle Royale mode since that mode's release.
Tencent, who is a partial owner of Epic Games, will bring Fortnite Battle Royale to China; the company is already involved in bringing and supporting Battlegrounds in China as well. Tencent plans to spend up to US$15 million to help promote the game in China, set up eSports tournaments, and fight against copyright infringement and clones of Fortnite that have appeared in the country. Epic also worked with Neowiz Games to bring a version of Fortnite to South Korea, launched in November 2018.
A release of Fortnite for the Nintendo Switch video game console had been rumored in the week prior to the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018 in June 2018. During the Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo and Epic Games announced the release of Fortnite Battle Royale for the Nintendo Switch, supporting cross-platform play with any other platform except the PlayStation 4; such users are able to carry over their inventory, Battle Pass status, and in-game currency between these platforms through their Epic user account. The game was released on June 12, 2018, the same day as the announcement. It is the first game to support direct voice chat through the Switch console.
In March 2018, Epic announced it was making Fortnite Battle Royale for Android and iOS mobile devices. The iOS version was released first, and was expected to be followed by the Android version by mid-2018. The beta version for iOS devices launched on March 15, 2018, and opened to all players on April 2, 2018. Epic Games stated that it was not possible to release the Android version with the iOS version simultaneously, and declined to provide a concrete release date for it, because the developers wanted to spend a few months making sure that the game will be compatible with as many Android devices as possible, a task that is not easily accomplished due to the high variety of Android hardware.
The Android beta version of Fortnite was released on August 9, 2018 with a time-exclusivity for selected Samsung mobile devices until August 12, 2018. On August 13, 2018, Epic began sending invites for the Android version to registered users for non-Samsung devices, and by October 11, 2018, the Android client was made available to all without an invite. Epic distributed the Android Fortnite Battle Royale app directly from its website rather than through the Google Play Store, citing that they want to have a direct connection to the players of the game, and they believe that the 30% fee Google takes from all microtransactions from apps through the Play Store was disproportionate to the types of services the store provides. Security experts expressed concern over this decision, since this requires users to modify security settings in default Android distributions to allow third-party sites to install Android application packages (APK). This setting can make users, particularly younger players, prone to potential malware, including clones of Fortnite that install malicious programming. About a month after the Android release, there were at least 32 clones of the Fortnite installer on the Google Store, with half found to include malware. Epic's installer for Android does include a warning message following the install that users should re-enable security controls and warns users of only downloading content from trusted sources. The initial installer was found by Google to have a potential vector that would allow for malware to be installed, though this was patched within 48 hours of discovery and Epic did not believe anyone used the vector.
The iOS version of Fortnite Battle Royale alone brought in an estimated US$1 million in microtransaction revenue within the first three days of in-app purchases being available, according to analysis firm Sensor Tower. Glixel considered these numbers impressive, compared to the early success rate of other popular mobile games, such as Pokémon Go and Clash Royale which earned US$4.9 million and US$4.6 million in their first four days, respectively. Sensor Tower further estimated that after one month, the mobile title had earned more than US$25 million in revenue, surpassing revenues from any other mobile games and other several top-grossing apps during the same period.
For the first five seasons, all ports of Fortnite Battle Royale support cross-platform play with other versions, but with limited interaction in regards to the PlayStation 4. That is, players on personal computer and mobile versions can cross-play with Xbox One and Nintendo Switch users, or alternatively they can cross-play with PlayStation 4 users. While Epic Games has expressed interest in having full cross-platform play across all available platforms, Sony's continued refusal to allow cross-play between the PlayStation 4 and other consoles rendered this impossible during the game's first year of operation, according to Microsoft. Further, while players can use a single Epic Games account to share progress in Fortnite: Battle Royale on all other platforms, those who used their PlayStation Network credentials to establish their Epic account cannot use that account on other platforms. The account restriction was confirmed to be as a result of Sony's initial decision to prohibit cross-platform play between its PlayStation 4 and other consoles, rather than a choice Epic had made.
By September 2018, Sony had made a decision to allow cross-platform play for the PlayStation 4 for "select third-party titles", starting with Fortnite. A beta version of the PlayStation 4 client supporting this was released for the game on September 26, 2018, the same day as Sony's announcement. A means to merge multiple Epic accounts as well as unlinking console accounts from an Epic account to attach to another are planned for release in November 2018.
Solo mobile players, or squads entirely consisting of mobile players will play solely with other mobile players by default for fairness; players however can use cross-platform play to join squads on other platforms, and matchmaking will consider all available matches.
Promotion and marketing
In May 2018, Epic announced a partnership with sports apparel manufacturing company IMG to produce official Fortnite-themed clothing. A Hasbro-licensed Fortnite Battle Royale-themed version of Monopoly was announced for release by late 2018; the Fortnite Monopoly game reflects some elements of the video game, such as the money being replaced with player's lives, and the ability to protect properties on the board with walls. Further, with this deal, Hasbro will produce Fortnite-based Nerf blasters, which are expected to reach retail in 2019. Funko will release a series of Fortnite themed Pop! figurines by late 2018.
Fortnite Battle Royale has been packaged as special bundles with both the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, each version providing redeemable codes for V-bucks and platform-unique customization options. A retail release of Fortnite Battle Royale, called Fortnite: Deep Freeze Bundle, will be distributed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch by late 2018. The package will include redeemable codes for V-Bucks and unique in-game cosmetics.
Epic has partnered with the National Football League (NFL) to bring in character skins for each of the 32 teams in the League starting in November 2018, a result of the influence of Fortnite on NFL players, who have frequently performed Fortnite dance emotes as victory celebrations.
One of the first professional eSports competitions using Fortnite was the Fortnite Pro-Am event, held on June 12, 2018 during the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018, with 3000 in attendance. This tournament was announced after the success of the March 2018 stream by Ninja where he played alongside celebrities like Drake. The event featuring 50 celebrities paired with 50 top streaming players competing for prize pool of US$3 million to be given to winning teams' charities. Ninja and his celebrity teammate Marshmello were the winners of this event.
In May 2018, Epic announced it was setting aside US$100 million to fund various tournaments throughout the year to help grow Fornite Battle Royale into a eSport. During the Fortnite Pro-Am at E3 2018, Epic announced it was setting up a 2019 Fortnite World Cup event, featuring separate series for solo players and two-player teams. All players, regardless of skill, would have an opportunity to try to gain placement in the World Cup event.
During mid-2018, Epic started running a Summer Skirmish series over 8 weeks, each week having a different format, with US$8 million to be offered to winners throughout the series. The series had some initial problems; the first week event was cut short due to technical issues with game servers, while the second event ended with accusations of cheating towards the winner which Epic later verified were not true. Epic launched its second competition play series, the Fall Skirmish, on September 21, 2018, with up to US$10 million in prizes for winners.
Player count and revenue
Fortnite Battle Royale has become its own phenomenon, compared by analysts to the success in drawing in players that are not average video game players as both World of Warcraft and Minecraft had done previously. Fortnite Battle Royale obtained over 10 million players two weeks after its release. By March 2018, it was estimated to have more than 45 million players. Three months later, in June 2018, Epic announced they had achieved over 125 million players in less than a year, with at least 40 million players playing the game once per month. Within a day of becoming available, the Nintendo Switch version had been downloaded over 2 million times, according to Nintendo. Epic said that Fortnite had been downloaded over 15 million times for Android within three weeks of its launch. On the release of Season 5 in July 2018, Akamai Technologies reported that Fortnite traffic neared 37 terabytes per second, the largest recorded amount of traffic for any video game that they have observed. With its quarterly financial report ending September 30, 2018, Nintendo said that Fortnite Battle Royale had been downloaded on about half of all Switch systems they have sold, representing about 11.5 million downloads.
Fortnite Battle Royale was made available to South Korea and their numerous PC bangs in November 2018; shortly after this point, Epic reported that Fortnite has surpassed a concurrent player count of 8.3 million, surpassing the game's previous record of 3.4 million in February 2018.
Analysis firm SuperData estimated that Fortnite Battle Royale made over US$126 million in February 2018, surpassing Battlegrounds's revenues for the same period of US$103 million. SuperData estimated Fortnite's revenues over all platforms to exceed US$223 million for the month of March. By April 2018, SuperData estimated that Fortnite Battle Royale had surpassed both sales and player count on all platforms over Battlegrounds. The game generated US$296 million in revenue in April, followed by US$318 million in May, according to SuperData. By July 2018, Fortnite Battle Royale had been estimated to have brought in over US$1 billion in revenue. Prior to the Season 5 start in July 2018, Sensor Tower estimated that the mobile version of Fortnite Battle Royale made over US$1.2 million daily; following the launch of Season 5, revenues jumped to US$2 million per day.
At the time of Tencent's investment into Epic in 2012, Epic Games had a US$825 million valuation. Because of Fortnite Battle Royale, Epic's valuation increased to US$4.5 billion as of May 2018. Bloomberg raised the estimate to around US$8.5 billion by the end of 2018 should Fortnite Battle Royale reach US$2 billion during the year. Partially due to the influx of revenue from Fortnite Battle Royale, Epic reduced its portion of sales it collected from the Unreal Engine Marketplace from 30% to 12% in July 2018, applying that retroactively to past sales.
Journalists attributed Fortnite Battle Royale's success over PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds as a combination of several factors: besides being free-to-play and available on consoles, the game was released at a time when Battlegrounds was struggling with game cheaters and a toxic community, and that it features a less violent, cartoonish quality to it that, like Minecraft, was able to draw in a younger and mixed-gendered audiences to play. Further, Epic has maintained frequent updates for the game, adding new weapons and in-game tools alongside limited-time events and longer-term narrative elements that help to further draw in players. The high interest in the game within March 2018, which has been able to draw larger audiences compared to existing multiplayer games like Grand Theft Auto Online and Destiny 2, has had a financial impact on competing publishers Take-Two Interactive and Activision Blizzard, their stocks having fallen during this period, according to analysts from Morgan Stanley and KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. Activision's CEO Bobby Kotick, on their quarterly results released May 2018, stated that "Fortnite is definitely a lot of competition right now...it’s been a really important catalyst in attracting new gamers to gaming", and the company is looking to develop its own battle royale title. Electronic Arts CEO Blake Jorgensen also considered both Fortnite Battle Royale and Battlegrounds as having a significant market impact. Jorgensen said " [Fortnite is] bringing younger people into the marketplace and younger people into first-person shooters, and I think that's good for the long run health of that category for all of us in the industry".
Part of the game's success is also considered to be related to its impact on social media. By March 2018, Fortnite: Battle Royale became the most-viewed game on Twitch, exceeding the average-concurrent viewership numbers of League of Legends and Battlegrounds. One notable streamer was Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, who gained a large number of subscribers by March 2018, in part due to his skill and through promotions on Twitch that offered free Fortnite Battle Royale cosmetic items; by March 2018, he was estimated to be making US$500,000 a month from his streaming revenue. YouTube streamer Rubén Doblas Gundersen held a Fortnite Battle Royale match with 99 other well-known YouTube streamers in late March, which drew over 1.1 million viewers, making it one of the most-watched gaming YouTube streams. The Fortnite Pro-Am event held at E3 2018 was estimated to have drawn over 1.3 million views across Twitch and other streaming services, making it one of the highest-viewed live-streamed event to date.
A number of celebrities and athletes have said they play Fortnite: Battle Royale, such as Chance the Rapper, Joe Jonas, Finn Wolfhard, Roseanne Barr, and Norm Macdonald. For athletes, their appreciation for the game has taken on the form of recreating the various emotes in game as part of their on-field celebration dances. Such Fortnite celebrations were frequently throughout the 2018 FIFA World Cup event in June and July 2018, including by Antoine Griezmann after a scoring penalty kick during the final. In March 2018, Tyler Blevins hosted a stream that included Drake, Travis Scott, Kim DotCom, and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster all playing the game. The stream broke over 635,000 concurrent viewers, making it the highest-watched stream on Twitch outside of eSports tournaments. Other notable people have expressed their fondness for the game; the Russo brothers, directors of Avengers: Infinity War, stated that they often played Fortnite Battle Royale during breaks on the film's development, leading them to propose the idea of the Thanos LTM for the game. The awareness of the game from well-known celebrities has been considered a reason for further popularity and player growth of the game.
Fortnite Battle Royale has been jokingly referred to as the honomyn "Fork Knife" on social media, believed to have originated with people, unfamiliar with the game, described their friends and family spending time playing the game. Epic added a harvestable, non-playable "Fork Knife" food truck to the game map as the term gained popularity. In September 2018, Fortnite was featured as a question on the game show Jeopardy!, and was spoofed in a skit on the September 29, 2018, episode of Saturday Night Live. The South Park episode "The Scoots" featured the cast wearing Fortnite-based Halloween costumes.
With the release of the mobile version, teachers, parents, and students have found that the game had become popular to younger players due to the free-to-play nature, its cartoonish art style, and its social nature. This carries over into schools, which has been seen as a disruptive element within the classroom. Epic has since added warnings on the game's loading screens to discourage students from playing it during classes. The UK's Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, expressed concern at how much time children were playing Fortnite Battle Royale and similar video games without a balance of physical exercise and social interactions. Other agencies, including the United States' Center on Media and Child Health and the United Kingdom's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children have cautioned parents that children may be influenced by the violent behavior due to Fortnite Battle Royale. At the same time, parents have expressed appreciation for Fortnite to have their children engage socially outside of their core groups of friends in a game that is otherwise not excessively violent, or see offering Fortnite as a reward for encouraging children to do well in school, offering their children the purchase of V-bucks in exchange for good grades. Some parents see potential in their children becoming skilled in Fortnite as to become professional players and compete for part of the large prize pools, creating a market for tutors to help children improve their skills in the game.
In January 2018, Bluehole's PUBG Corp., the South Korean company behind PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), filed a lawsuit against Epic Games, claiming that Fortnite Battle Royale was a copyright infringement of Battlegrounds; they accused Epic Games of copying PUBG's user interface and game items. According to Korea Times, market observers predicted that there would be little likelihood of Bluehole winning the case, as it would be difficult to establish the originality of PUBG in court due to the battle royale game genre, which includes both PUBG and Fortnite Battle Royale, being derived from the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale. The case has since closed, with PUBG Corp. dropping the lawsuit in June 2018 under undisclosed reasons.
In May 2018, Epic Games filed a lawsuit against quality assurance tester Thomas Hannah after he leaked information regarding Season 4. Hannah, who had joined Epic in December 2017, breached the non-disclosure agreement by sharing details of the Season with Adam DiMarco. DiMarco later shared information in a Reddit post, spoiling the theme of the Season. Epic stated that Hannah "diminished the enjoyment of the people who play, or who watch others play, Fortnite by ruining the suspense that had been building in the Fortnite community in anticipation of upcoming season".
Cheats and mods
In October 2017, Epic Games filed civil complaints against two associates of the website Addicted Cheats, which for a payment provided cheating services to players. The company argued that the two defendants made and used altered game breaking code that was against the End User License Agreement and the Copyright Act.
In October 2018, Epic Games sued YouTuber Brandon Lucas, who posts videos on the channel, Golden Modz. The lawsuit details that Lucas, cheats at the game and "...promotes, advertises and sells software that enables those who use it to cheat." The lawsuit also names Lucas's secondary website in which visitors are encouraged to purchase the hack and/or Fortnite user accounts preloaded with hacks.
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