DrLupo made millions by streaming to its 4.5 million Twitch followers and another 1.8 million YouTube subscribers. He used this platform to raise another million to raise funds for St. Jude, serving as fame to the hospital patients as well as their benefactor. He said all this success dates back to five years ago when he decided to start playing a cartoon shooter called “Fortnite”.
“It is at the heart of many of the things I have done in my career,” he told The Washington Post Lupo, whose real name is Ben Lupo, in August. “It was the most important thing I ever did while streaming.”
[How well do you know ‘Fortnite’s’ island? Take our geography quiz!]
“Fortnite”, a wildly popular battle royale game in which hundreds of players fight each other to remain the last player or team, first released in September 2017. The game was an immediate success, growing to hundreds of millions of players and garnering hundreds of millions of revenues each month, despite the fact that the game is free. In this process, it has become more than just making money, resonating in a way few entertainment products have ever had.
For starters, Fortnite has catapulted many Twitch streamers like Lupo into a new stratosphere of fame. When Lupo started streaming the game, he played with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, a friend and streamer who, with his blue hair and a knack for winning, became the kid in the poster of Fortnite’s early viral success. Over time, Lupo said his Twitch channel grew from several hundred viewers to over 10,000 simultaneous followers of him playing Fortnite with Blevins and others.
Currently, 35-year-old Lupo has an exclusive YouTube streaming deal for an undisclosed amount (Lupo said it kept his family safe for life) and raised over $ 10 million for St. Jude from streaming “Fortnite” and other games. Meanwhile, Blevins is broadcasting everywhere – really, on all possible platforms – and has turned his meteoric rise from Fortnite into a clothing line, an ESPN the Magazine cover story and a 2018 New Year’s Eve co-host concert with Times Kwadrat.
“It blew the top of the games for everyone around the world,” said Lupo.
When Fortnite was first launched, it filtered into all aspects of life. It was ubiquitous and unmissable. The kids danced in the school yard “Fortnite”. The game was blamed for the Boston Red Sox putter’s wrist strait. Parents, partners and even professional coaches finally asked the same question: “When will this end?”
Not yet. Fortnite is available on any internet-connected computer, console, phone or tablet nearby, thanks in part to the mode that is now playable on web browsers. Some of the world’s most popular media franchises and sports leagues – from Star Wars and Darth Vader to the NFL – have in-game characters, clothing, or preset locations for a virtual “Fortnite” island. The Russo brothers, Hollywood directors best known for creating some of the most ambitious movies in the Marvel cinematic universe, brought their work to the game when Fortnite put players in control of the Infinity Gauntlet, which is bending reality, owned by the enemy of the Avengers, Thanos.
“As storytellers, we are motivated by our desire to consistently push the boundaries of what is achievable,” Joe and Anthony Russo wrote in an email, answering questions from The Post. “Introducing Thanos to the Fortnite universe in such an authentic way has been very satisfying for us, and we are extremely interested in finding ways to continue to be part of the Epic ecosystem.”
The Russo brothers added that their collaboration with Epic is based on “a shared vision for the future of storytelling.”
“No other game has done this at this point,” said Ali “SypherPK” Hassan about the Thanos event. Hassan, a streamer with 6.2 million Twitch followers, has succeeded in making videos of all of the events and updates on Fortnite Island.
“Fortnite” has found mass appeal, turning the hyper-realistic character found in shooters such as “Call of Duty” into a bright, cartoon-like world that appeals to both adults and children. As Lupo emphasizes, there is no blood in “Fortnite”. The remaining players are simply eliminated.
LEFT: Darth Vader enters the battle royal. LAW: Spider-Man and other Marvel heroes also made frequent appearances in Fortnite. (Epic Games)
“You can go up against John Cena and LeBron James with Master Chief and Goku,” said Lupo. “It’s like a fever dream. Go back five years and tell me it will happen and I would laugh in your face.
In 2019, Drake and Travis Scott played in “Fortnite” with Blevins and the broadband NFL receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, breaking records at the time on Twitch. Since then, the lines between popular music and gaming have continued to blur. A year later, the popular music producer and DJ Marshmello led the first-ever music performance in the game in a suburban part of the island called Pleasant Park. Travis Scott and Ariana Grande continued with their own performances, and recently MTV added a new Music Award to honor the best such performances in the game. Now iHeartRadio has created a private island within “Fortnite” where the performances take place, and is sponsored by insurance company State Farm.
Charlie Puth, who is preparing to release his third studio album in October, recorded a live performance that debuted on the island earlier this month.
“I’m not even going to pretend that I know a lot about Fortnite. I didn’t even know they were doing virtual shows, ”said Puth. “I felt bad that I wasn’t one of the first to do this. So I just took the opportunity. “
For Puth, who isn’t a big player, iHeartRadio was just another platform to connect with online fans.
The influence of the game was also felt outside the world of entertainment. Last year, “Fortnite” was the focal point of a court battle between Epic and Apple, in which the game developer claimed the iPhone maker operated as a monopoly by requiring all iOS app distribution and monetary transactions to be done through the Apple App Store . When the judge ruled that Epic hadn’t proven Apple to be a monopoly, he dealt a blow to Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s ultimate vision for the game and his company – to create a metaverse.
[Silicon Valley is racing to build the next version of the internet. Fortnite might get there first.]
Metaverse is basically a digital online world where users can easily and seamlessly interact with brands, intellectual property and each other online. In many ways, “Fortnite” has provided one of the clearest models of how such a vision can work. Epic Games has already established a long-term partnership with Lego, one of the most popular building blocks in the world, to jointly create and “shape the future of the meta-universe.”
Fortnite didn’t start out as a battle royale game. In fact, it was originally launched as “Fortnite: Save the World,” a game where four players fend off zombies together by building defenses and creating weapons. The Battle Royale component, “Fortnite Battle Royale”, was developed just two months after the initial “Save the World” mode was launched. “Fortnite” was not the first battle royale, an increasingly popular genre at the end of 2010, and was preceded by “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and “H1Z1”. But two weeks after the release of the free part of “Fortnite Battle Royale”, it already had over 10 million players.
Epic Games has refused to allow anyone in the company to discuss the creation, development, and steering of Fortnite.
When Fortnite was first released, Lupo said he hesitated a little from parachuting and leaving other games behind. It had some gameplay issues, but Epic was just releasing new updates. The bugs have been resolved. The problems have been resolved. Epic continued to call the game “beta” long after its release. And with each update, there was a new weapon that players could shoot from in the game.
“We used to update the game every six months, or maybe a year,” said Matthew Ball, former Amazon CEO and author of a book on efforts to construct a metaverse. “When Fortnite came out, few other publishers made major updates every 90 days, but also made minor changes three times a week.”
Ball said any idea that Epic’s success with Fortnite was a stroke of luck would be a mistake. Fortnite wasn’t “Epic’s first or second big hit,” he noted. This honor belongs to “Unreal Tournament”, Epic’s groundbreaking sci-fi shooter released two decades ago that helped Epic what it is today.
The true legacy of Unreal comes from the game engine – the software platform that acts as the foundation and building blocks of a video game. It is common practice for developers to license a game engine from another developer, and the Unreal engine is now used to power hundreds of games, including “Mass Effect”, “BioShock”, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and of course “Fortnite”. Recently, Unreal Engine found a home in Hollywood where it was used to create virtual sets for Disney’s “The Mandalorian” and HBO’s “Westworld”.
“Epic Games owns Fortnite, but the real money maker is Unreal Engine,” said Hassan, AKA SypherPK. “Their plan is to give people the Unreal Engine tools to customize the Fortnite experience and create new game modes.”
If people stop playing the Battle Royale that Fortnite is based on, that’s fine, Hassan said. Epic Games wants to host islands and user-generated games that can live “for years” outside of the original game. Earlier this year, Hassan announced that he was opening his own production studio in Austin to support content creators and potentially create maps or new game modes for Fortnite.
“If anything were to be a separate universe in which we spend our time, it would be Fortnite,” said Kathleen Belsten, a 29-year-old Australian streamer known as “Loserfruit”. Belsten is one of a handful of streamers who have their own likeness in a game he describes as “cloning yourself in another universe”.
“Fortnite, as a game, has slowly but surely evolved into a gaming platform over the years. I think this is really the future of “Fortnite,” said Ali “Myth” Kabbani, a Twitch streamer with over 7.4 million followers who was the first to find an audience playing the game.
Kabbani and other streamers said Epic is trying to turn “Fortnite” into a virtual sandbox. The game’s Creative Mode already allows players to build, share, or explore islands created by other players. Kabbani said when Epic gives people more tools to build entire Fortnite games, it will be a “different ball game” – less battle royale, more metaverse.
“We say Roblox. We’re talking about the level of creativity and community in Minecraft, ”said Kabbani.
“Maybe we’ve already seen the peak of Fortnite,” he said. “But I don’t think we’ve seen the second Fortnite summit yet. “