Fortnite is a hugely successful game – and who wouldn’t advise taking a leaf out of their book? From nailing your UX to building a strong community, here are 10 business lessons to adopt.
One of the most successful video games in the world right now is Fortnite, a free-to-play video game created by Tim Sweeney and developed by Epic Games Inc. Released in July 2017, the game already boasts 350 million registered users as of May 2020, which is a staggering figure. That number will likely continue to rise, given that the game’s popularity hasn’t died out yet.
In terms of revenue, the game earned USD 1.8 billion in 2019, which is lower than the USD 2.4 billion it earned in 2018. But that amount still makes Fortnite the top earner for the second straight year in a row. Analysts are predicting that the trend will continue for the year 2020. But what is it about Fortnite that makes it so successful and what can we learn from it? Let’s discuss the 10 business lessons that we can take from Fortnite’s continued success.
The 10 Lessons We Can Learn from Fortnite’s Colossal Success
1. Don’t Stop Improving and Upgrading Your Product or Service
One of the old sayings that many people still adhere to is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”. Though this saying can still apply to certain situations, it’s actually not great advice for our world today. The fast-paced, technology-driven world we live in means that things change at a very rapid pace, especially in business.
Change is the only thing that is constant in this world and Fortnite has fully embraced this concept, using data to drive its decisions and create an even stronger product-market fit. Epic Games continues to improve and upgrade the game, adding new content, items, and more, on a regular basis. The developers closely monitor how the game is performing as they look for new ways in which they can further enhance and improve the player’s experience. They then add the necessary changes and observe how they perform over time.
The developers won’t hesitate to get rid of updates that aren’t performing well either. They’ll often look at how people react to these changes and listen to their feedback as a means of figuring out what’s working and what’s not. If you take a look at the original concept and gameplay of Fortnite, you’ll find it to be very different from the Fortnite that we see today.
2. Become Culturally Relevant
Another lesson that we can learn from Fortnite is the importance of figuring out the formula to becoming a relevant part of our culture today. They owe a huge part of their success to their decision to incorporate popular Internet culture, icons, and more into the game. For example, Epic Games has included several popular dances from famous K-Pop groups into the character’s celebration moves. They also included popular dances from other cultures so as to relate to other types of players, such as the ‘dab’.
On top of that, they frequently come out with events that are related to what’s being talked about in the world, such as when they included a camo of the character Thanos during the Avengers: Infinity War worldwide release. These actions forge deeper connections between Fortnite and its players, irrespective of race and culture. It allows them to relate better with the game because they see and experience something that is familiar and popular in the current world culture.
This is something that can be applied in business as well. Incorporating popular culture in marketing and advertising efforts can help a brand to both relate better and form a deeper connection with many audiences.
3. Be User-Friendly, But Be Difficult To Master
Fortnite is a relatively easy game to play. You don’t have to undergo a steep learning curve or spend hours trying to figure out how the game works. Even if you don’t have an idea of how multiplayer battle royal works, when you first log in and start playing, you can easily figure out how the game works and what’s the overall goal to win.
This characteristic makes it easy for people to start playing since they don’t need to spend a lot of time figuring out how it works. But what will keep them coming back is the depth and sophistication that this game offers. Yes, Fortnite is easy to play, but it doesn’t mean that it is easy to master. It takes a lot of practice to harness the necessary skills and abilities to become a good player.
Like with all good things, there should be a proper balance between ease-of-use and the provision of more depth for people to later discover. This is something that entrepreneurs can apply to their products or services. Making it easy for people to understand and get the hang of it, while also offering something more so as to keep them interested for longer periods of time, is key to sustained success.
4. Establish a Supportive and Equal Community
Establishing an online community is not an easy thing to do, but Fortnite was able to do it successfully. They are one of the few gaming communities that are not really toxic and even have a community where everyone is more than willing to help each other. And they did this by doing two things: by making sure that everyone in the game is equal, regardless of whether they pay to play or not, and by including game modes where cooperation and collaboration are actively encouraged.
Many games tend to suffer from the toxic dynamic that typically exists between the paying and free-to-play players. This is down to the fact that paying players tend to have a huge advantage over the free-to-play players, making it less fun to play for the majority. But with Fortnite, everyone is equal since spending doesn’t provide any type of competitive advantage to players in terms of gameplay and functionality. Instead, the advantage here is that spenders can purchase the best skins (character’s costumes), making their character more unique and personalised than for the free-to-play players.
As for encouraging collaboration, Fortnite has several game modes where cooperation is the key factor for a team win. For example, there’s the 50-vs-50 Battle Royale mode where players need to really help each other if they want to win and reap the rewards of the game. This format encourages complete strangers to join forces in order to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the match. These two strategies are something to consider for businesses that want to establish a tight-knit community for their brand.
5. Be Innovative with What’s Already Available
Innovation has always been a key component when it comes to achieving success in business. But this doesn’t always mean inventing something new. Fortnite’s success was largely owed to the fact that the developers used two successful existing concepts and combined them together to create a unique game. The battle royale game mode is not new, but has been growing in popularity in recent years. Similarly, the building aspect has been one of Minecraft’s most popular features for seemingly aeons.
The developers took the things that people loved about battle royal and building and then fused them together to create Fortnite. They didn’t really invent something new, but they were able to provide a unique concept that made the game more fun and exciting to play. This shows that the best product or service doesn’t always mean being new or the first one to come out. It can also just be a combination of the best things from an existing product or service.
6. Create a Sense of Urgency
This is not really a new concept, but it is something that Fortnite has successfully used in the game. Microtransactions are the game’s main source of income and, as a means of enticing people to purchase, they deliberately create a firm sense of urgency. They do this by offering new items such as skins, dances, and so on for a finite period of time.
For example, Fortnite usually has festive-themed exclusive items that are only available during that particular holiday. Once the holiday is over, the items will no longer be available. This can entice players to participate in impulse buying as they may fear missing out on getting these items. These exclusive, time-limited items are also a great way for players to make their character more unique, as they will be one of the few players in the game who have them.
Offering exclusive items for a limited period of time is one of the best ways to create a sense of urgency and persuade your customers to spend their money. Especially in a game like Fortnite, where everyone is equal, having the opportunity to be unique can be very enticing for many players. Offering exclusive deals and promos for a limited time whilst creating a sense of urgency is a great tactic for many businesses, regardless of industry. You may even choose not to provide the full features of a product at the very start and, instead, wait until a later date to offer an exclusive and time-limited upgrade to entice users who are already invested in your product to buy the full version.
7. Leverage Cross-Platform Audiences to Increase Your Reach
Fortnite is a game that is available on many different platforms such as PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows and Mac computers, and iOS and Android Mobile phones. Making the game available on many different platforms allows it to reach a much wider audience. This also enables more players to download and play the game since it doesn’t require that you own a particular console or device just to play the game.
But Epic Games didn’t just stop there since they also allowed players from different devices to play with each other. The ability to play with your friends, regardless of whatever console they may be on, significantly increased user interest, leading to a surge in its player base.
In business, making a product widely accessible to any potential customer can be a great strategy. You can start out targeting a particular niche first and then expand your reach to grant more potential customers access to your product or service.
8. Be Open to Unorthodox Monetisation Strategies
Fortnite has been the top earner for two straight years and the company achieved this by making the game available online for free. Making it free is probably the biggest reason as to why so many people downloaded the game and play it, even to this day. They eliminated the barrier to entry so that there’s really no reason for people not to at least try playing the game at least once.
The company was able to generate income through microtransactions. And even if these transactions don’t offer any competitive advantage for players, the opportunity to be unique in a game where millions of people are playing is very hard to pass up. What this shows is that there are many other ways for businesses to make money than just selling their product or service. Offering subscriptions or exclusive access to features are just some examples of alternative ways to monetise your business.
9. Empower Players to Share Exciting Moments
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the cheapest and fastest ways to increase the reach of your product or services. Fortnite has excelled at this by empowering their players to share exciting and successful moments in the game. The different gameplay videos of the game, coming from both pro and casual gamers alike, have attracted more players to try Fortnite themselves.
Since the game is always bringing something new to the table, it creates many different moments for players to share with others. The gameplay itself presents many different opportunities to find good moments to share as there’s always a unique experience when you play. Epic Games also included a replay mode that has many different viewing angles to allow you to capture the perfect shot.
The replay mode also shows timelines of certain kills, which makes it easier to look for them and crop them out to share with others. This same strategy can be applied to many businesses by highlighting the most shareable moments or aspects of a product or service. Many people are always more than willing to post accomplishments or good moments on their social media accounts and highlighting that aspect of a product or service can help encourage people to spread awareness about your business.
10. Find Other Ways to Connect and Engage with People
The last lesson that we can take from Fortnite’s success is finding other ways to connect and engage with people. Fortnite’s interaction with its players is not only limited to within the game itself. They continue to connect and engage with people outside the game on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, and more.
They sponsor different social content and partner with influencers or professional gamers as a means of interacting with their existing and potential customers. Fortnite even hosts events and participates in conventions, so they’re not just limited to interacting with people on the Internet. For businesses, it’s important that you also find other ways to engage and interact with people.
Don’t just settle for engagement solely within your brand. Try to form partnerships, do sponsorships, and even participate in events or conferences that are relevant to your brand or niche. Let your audience keep you in their thoughts by being visible outside of your environment.
Fortnite’s meteoric rise is a really spectacular feat. But their success is not really an accident, as the developers implemented certain strategies that contributed greatly to their rise. In this article, we’ve looked at 10 lessons we can take from the game’s success and how we can apply it. If you enjoy playing Fortnite, you might also like other survival shooter games that are also fun and exciting to play.