It’s hard to believe that this time last year we were living in a world where “fortnight” simply referred to a two week time period. On 26th September 2017 Fortnite: Battle Royale burst onto the scene and gave a new meaning to the word.
This hugely popular online game was developed from an earlier third-person shooter release, and sees one hundred players on an island fighting for survival. In the space of just two weeks following its launch, the game amassed over 10 million players. Fast forward a year and Fortnite’s domination continues with 10 times the players – now 125 million-strong. The game is now available on more devices than ever before and remains free to play.
It’s unsurprising to see brands waking up to the huge opportunity provided by Fortnite’s worldwide audience of engaged – or even obsessed – fans. We can’t talk about the success of Fortnite without mentioning its loyal fandom and the streamers – gamers who record themselves playing live and share their videos via the likes of Twitch and YouTube.
The game is most watched on the Amazon-owned live-streaming platform Twitch. When pro-gamer Ninja was joined by Drake to play a game of Fortnite earlier this year – the stream became the most watched ever with 628,000 viewers.
Those who gain popularity on these platforms swiftly become recognised as influencers, opening themselves up for sponsored streams and branding partnerships.
One of the ways that brands can board the Battle Bus is by paying streamers for onscreen advertising whilst they play. Warner Bros, for example, promoted The Meg – branding a well-known streamer’s video with their logo and with a filter on the left hand-side of their screen. As a full-viewable unit, this product placement was an effective way to drive high dwell times to an engaged audience.
Stream sponsorship is not, however, only suitable for those in the entertainment sector. Twitch reports that 81% of their viewers are male, but 78% of them have agreed that they want to see more charity in gaming – opening the door for many good causes to take advantage.
Even the most notoriously hard-to-reach audience – Gen Z – can be found playing Fortnite in their millions. First appearing on the Childwise Buzz report in Autumn 2017, Fortnite has quickly become a fan favourite, presenting brands with a significant opportunity to reach the untraceable under 13s (despite the game having an official age rating of 12). When coupled together with the steady YoY rise of YouTube watching and the ownership of personal devices, this is a match made in advertising heaven.
Amazon, too, has recognised the value that can be had from such a platform, announcing that the site will no longer be ad free with an Amazon Prime subscription as of next month. This is big news for commercial opportunities, with Twitch projecting an additional $1 billion in ad sales – double its current numbers.
Fortnite may be fad that’ll run its course at any time (much like the Pokémon Go hype of 2016) but for now it holds the privileged title of being the most popular game in the world – and could be a huge opportunity for brands to engage a uniquely invested audience.