A year ago, no one had heard of Fortnitethe online shooter game in which players fight it out to be the last person standing.
Now it is the biggest video game in the world, with an obsessive fanbase among schoolchildren and teenagers. Previously only available on consoles and PC, last week an iPhone version was given a limited release — and within hours it topped the iTunes chart in 13 countries.
This in spite of the fact that access is via email invite only; and the game is free to download. The revenue comes from cosmetic in-game purchases — people are paying for their character to wear different outfits.
This comes as no surprise to anyone who has followed the meteoric rise of the game since Epic redesigned what was previously a cooperative survival adventure, and made it free to download.
At any one time, there are 3. What is gaining most attention, though, is how popular the game is with children. Parents are venting their concerns on Facebook and Twitter, with one mother stating: Fifa is forgotten all of a sudden as well as Call of Duty for the older ones.
The popularity with children and teens is partly down to the fact that the game is free. It is another example of an ongoing trend in the mobile space: With smartphones becoming even more powerful, traditional gamers are seeking more PC-like and console-like titles to play on the go, and Fortnite shows that companies no longer have to water down their games for mobile.