When media from outside of the gaming world writes about video games, the results are often mixed.
Usually there is some lapse in knowledge about a game or the ecosystem surrounding it.
Over the last year, Fortnite Battle Royale has been the biggest culprit. The game has forced people to strap in and pay attention while big sites want the Google traffic of one of the most searched words on the web.
Side note, have you wondered why we have started writing Fortnite Battle Royale instead of just Fortnite? It is because so many sites are writing about the game that Google is punishing repeated uses of the word in articles.
This obviously makes it difficult for a Fortnite Battle Royale site as we get punished in the rankings for writing the name of the game the site is dedicated towards.
Anyways, another mainstream article came out today. This one was from the advertising/marketing site AdAge. They declare that “Fortnite is the social media platform for GenZ.“
Here’s a quote from the article: “Fortnite is the new Facebook in some ways,” says Henry Cowling, creative managing director at MediaMonks, a digital production company. “Millennials and Gen Z are much more used to living on platforms like Fortnite.”
Personally, I disagree. The social platforms analogous to Facebook for the Gen Z audience are Instagram, Twitch, YouTube, Reddit, Snapchat and Twitter. There is no shortage of social platforms competing for the attention of Gen Z and all of those platforms are more consistently used throughout the general audience.
The article goes on to mention how brands have found a home on the game. Touching on the NFL, Marshmello concert, Avengers and John Wick.
Here’s a quote in the article from Jon Penn the CEO of NRG (not related to the esports organization): “people are taking risks and doing it in a safe way, particularly those who are 10-to-17-years-old.” For instance, he says “someone who wouldn’t try on a pair of Air Jordan’s in real life, for example, is more likely to with their avatar while playing Fortnite,” he says.
I guess that may be true? It would be interesting to see the data behind that. I figured the people most attracted to the Jordan skin were already sneakerheads.
Another ad exec chimes in later: “Virtual Jordan’s are the new social currency for Gen Z.”
Can it really be a currency if theres only one shoe and you either have it or you don’t? People absolutely love collecting skins but that’s not exactly a new phenomenon unique to Fortnite.
But the craziest part of the article to me is that they are talking about Fortnite as a social platform, and not once do they mention duos or squads. Here’s how the writer describes “Fortnite 101”
“100 players are dropped into an area and the last person standing wins,” he writes. “Winners obtain unique items called “skins,” allowing the player to equip their avatar with different gear, which in some cases can include branded apparel; skins can also be purchased with actual money, too.”
The problems with this should stand out immediately. Glossing over the other modes is no big deal, but skins aren’t awarded with wins except for gliders. This also makes it seem like skins aren’t usually purchased by money when that is how the whole system works.
But again, when talking about Fortnite it is important to do your homework. Grinding solo games is about as far from a social experience in a multiplayer video game as you can get. Talking with friends in a squad game is close, but that doesn’t feel like a unique Fortnite Battle Royale experience compared to just video games in general.
Honestly, I mostly wanted to write this article to get our readers thoughts. I clearly disagree, but how about you? Do you see Fortnite Battle Royale as a social platform like “Gen Z’s Facebook?”