Epic Games has seen incredible success with Fortnite since the game launched in July 2017, with 350 million users flocking to drop from the Battle Bus and streamers creating lucrative careers in the process.
In February 2019, Fortnite became more than just a game: It was a culture and a lifestyle too. That month, multiplatinum-selling recording artist DJ Marshmello performed the first live concert in Fortnite, which ended up being viewed by almost 11 million players.
Since then, multiple collaborations with Fortnite have been executed to great success. Star Wars, Avengers, Stranger Things, Batman and the NFL are just some of the major brands that have dropped into the Fortnite playhouse. The latest event was a concert with deadmau5, Steve Aoki and Dillon Francis that took place Friday.
It feels like only the beginning. With every partnership and execution comes new wrinkles, advancements and creative feats that make you believe anything is possible. With that in mind, here are 10 ideas I can see happening in Fortnite in the future:
Fortnite Fight Night
Fortnite and WWE align in many ways, particularly demographics, as both cater to a younger audience. The first collaboration that popped into my head when I started really thinking about this was a WWE event inside Fortnite. When I say event, I don't mean Austin Creed and UpUpDownDown doing content around Fortnite. WWE superstars participate in Fortnite events all the time, including the Fortnite Pro Am last summer in New York City during the Fortnite World Cup. I'm talking about a full event, in the game.
Imagine you drop from the bus and there's a wrestling ring set up at Pleasant Park. You land, find a spot and the show begins. A screen comes down and you watch a live match or two. Then, suddenly, the ground shakes and you're propelled into the air, into a totally new scene, and the next match begins within the game. It's the multisensory experience of Travis Scott's Astronomical meeting the mecha-monster battle from last year.
All of a sudden, a colossal John Cena appears, music blaring, holding a rally towel the size of a flag that would cover an entire section of a soccer stadium. Cena charges toward the animated Fortnite ring. Then, day turns to night. A familiar gong rings. Lightning strikes, smoke rises, and there, larger than you've ever seen him before, is The Undertaker. Slowly brooding his way to the ring, druids in tow, crows flying above, each note of the "Graveyard" symphony pulsating through your character. The match begins, each punch, each slam creates a moment that jolts the users upward. It's truly immersive and a unique way to experience a wrestling match.
This is a relationship I could see being fostered for years to come. There is a lot that aligns here, and I think there is a mutual benefit. Between the social media prowess of WWE, the user base of Fortnite, the creative minds on both sides (for those who will take that line and post it on social media just to say "there are no creative minds in WWE, just look at the product lately," trust me, there are many), I truly believe something special could be created here, and perhaps on a regular basis. Maybe Saturday Night's Main Event ends up as a Fortnite special once every few months. But truly, a cinematic match within Fortnite would be dope.
Fortnite: The Movie
Video games as Hollywood films is not a new idea. There have been great ones, and not-so-great ones (I'm still waiting for another Super Mario Bros. film to cleanse my palette of the one from the '90s). Whether it happens soon, to capitalize on the popularity of the game, or it happens in 15-20 years, when Fortnite makes a comeback in its "nostalgia" stage, I truly believe this is going to happen. With the collabs that we have already seen within the game, you know you'd get a great cast for the project.
The best part is, this would be a great way to bring back lapsed fans: make it a weeklong event within the game, with different events and experiences, and a full-blown movie premiere. It could be the biggest premiere in cinematic history. Imagine 10, 15, 20, 30 million people logging in to watch the movie. Imagine the ending is left open and suddenly, you, the user are controlling the title character and determining the ending by playing the game. The possibilities are endless. The best part about this is that Epic Games could "reinvent" the genre in a way.
An offshoot of this is that Fortnite can also become the new "movie theater" experience. It's Friday night, you're playing a couple of games of Fortnite, and then you head on over in weapon-free mode to Risky Reels, pay a fee and suddenly you're watching the new Avengers movie.
- Rogue (@Rogue) May 9, 2020
This is probably the one I can see happening most immediately. Concerts are already in full swing, whether they are all encompassing events like Travis Scott's Astronomical, or watching on a giant screen like Party Royale. Quibi and Fortnite have presented a similar offering within the game with the "Punk'd" reboot. Expanding that idea to different forms of entertainment, the next space I think of is comedy.
There have never been more places for comedians to sell their jokes. One-hour specials exist on Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, Amazon -- the list goes on and on. Fortnite is a natural next step, or at least as an advertisement. Much like the Star Wars event in December to promote "Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker," you could absolutely envision Kevin Hart doing 10 minutes at Risky Reels, or a full special from Ben Schwartz premiering in the game. The only question I'd have is, does the comedian fit for the audience and the tone the game conveys -- after that, it's all systems go.
A Lady Gaga music festival
This one is definitely low-hanging fruit, but it would be a nice result to a social media journey that began in October of last year. It all started on Oct. 15 when two words appeared on Lady Gaga's Twitter account.
- Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) October 15, 2019
Those two simple words, with Fortnite spelled wrong, created a firestorm of more than 30,000 responses responses and nearly 1 million likes. I made this prediction the next day.
- ᴀʀᴅᴀ Öᴄᴀʟ (@Arda) October 16, 2019
I definitely think a concert will happen. How can it not? It will be universally loved by Gaga fans and Fortnite fans. But I want to make a bolder prediction. Not only will there be a concert, but an entire festival, presented by Lady Gaga. I don't know the name of this festival yet -- "Gagapalooza" sounds a little cringey -- but we will have an all-day musical experience in the game, with 30 musical acts across several stages all going on simultaneously, culminating with Lady Gaga as the headliner.
I Now Pronounce You, Banana and Fish
You may kiss the peel.
Jokes aside, I predict a celebrity proposal/wedding will take place within Fortnite. Gone are the days when celebrity weddings are a television event. Fortnite will be the medium of choice for the next giant public celebrity wedding. I don't know who, but I know it's entirely possible. I won't go so far as to say you'll see a fully legal Las Vegas-style drive-through chapel as a service offered within the game, but as an event, sure. Why not? If you're a celebrity, and you've decided that you want to make your wedding public and blow it out to get attention, doing something that has never been done before is a great way to generate buzz. Maybe the couple play one game before the wedding and whomever gets the most eliminations will also decide if they sign a prenup.
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"The first person voted off of Survivor: Fortnite is ... Benjamin "DrLupo" Lupo. You need to bring me your keyboard."
This is one I feel strongly about. There have been 40 seasons of Survivor on different tropical islands. A refresh for one season would be welcome, even if the setting is digital.
Same rules: Everyone is in the game 24/7 (except when competitors are sleeping, but the game is still on and users in the game are just idle). There are challenges (most eliminations in one game, races, etc -- you can get really creative here), immunity and votes. You get all the drama, pageantry and intrigue of "Survivor," except all the contestants are in the same house, "Big Brother" style, and not a tropical island. Maybe the house is also on a tropical island. Who knows? Either way, we see drama unfold within the game and within the house.
It's either this or The Amazing Race: Fortnite. One of them is definitely happening and maybe both. For me it's when, not if. When Fortnite becomes the metaverse, new reality shows will be easy to execute, and established ones will be knocking on the door for collaboration.
AEW pro wrestler and executive Kenny Omega once told me that he only conducts business meetings in the voice chat while playing Apex Legends. Zoom is definitely having its moment during the coronavirus pandemic, but in the years to come, when the bulk of Fortnite's player base has jobs and meetings to attend, you can absolutely imagine a world where some companies will adopt this as a way to have fun.
Not every meeting will begin on the Battle Bus, of course -- some require your full attention, or there is a presentation, I get that. I don't think negotiating your salary with your boss will happen while trying to snipe Peely from a distance anytime soon, but if you're in the workforce and you're reading this, you can already think of at least one weekly meeting you have that would be a lot more interesting while you practice your 90s and 180s building patterns.
The Super Bowl halftime show
Going back to WWE, the company held two "Halftime Heat" events in history, 20 years apart: in 1999 and in 2019. One aired on USA Network during the Super Bowl halftime show and featured an empty arena match where Mick "Mankind" Foley defeated Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to win the WWE title. In 2019, the WWE Network aired a six-man tag team match featuring NXT talents at the WWE Performance Center.
Let's take that idea and expand it a little: It's Superbowl LVIII. The second quarter ends, and the Cleveland Browns are leading Tom Brady's TOMpa Bay Buccaneers 28-3. The halftime show is about to start. You get your typical celebrity acts, but then that familiar Fortnite menu music begins to play. Users are urged to log into the game, but it's not necessary. Every character from Banshee to Peely are dancing in the background to the performances. In the game, you see the same performance, but with user enhancements, so you really feel the music.
The screen switches back and forth to what users are experiencing in the game to what is happening during the halftime show. Prominent streamers such as Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, Tim "Timthetatman" John Betar, Benjamin "DrLupo" Lupo, Jack "CouRage" Dunlop and Ali "Myth" Kabbani are all reacting live during the performance. Celebrity cameos are happening too -- other NFL players are watching in the game, experiencing what users are experiencing. It's 15 minutes of pure organized chaos featuring the biggest celebrities on the planet, with a joyous sensory overload. And then the third quarter begins and TB and Gronk complete the comeback.
Now, I totally understand that this one might be the most trolled on social media. The SUPER BOWL? Are you kidding me? Fortnite? There will be so many people that will be opposed to this one, I can sense it. Chop it up all you want, I'm just saying, I can envision it happening. Think of it from the other side -- users in the game that wouldn't normally be watching NFL football are suddenly enjoying an in-game experience featuring the Super Bowl. Maybe the game is also playing within Fortnite. It's not just Fortnite at the Super Bowl -- it's the Super Bowl in Fortnite.
Which leads me to my next idea ...
The Fortnite Bowl
I don't just mean naming rights (that's easy, and could happen sooner than later honestly). There will come a day when the integration is so smooth between events and technology that we will be able to simulate sporting events with augmented reality -- in this case within Fortnite.
Imagine this: a college bowl game is played like it normally would on a field inside a sold-out stadium. As it's happening, the game is also being simulated, in real time, on a field in Fortnite. The players look the same, just animated, except, you as a user, can run onto the field (without interrupting play obviously), take the view of certain players whenever you want. Maybe the drama is upped a bit -- when a touchdown is scored, fireworks go off, or when there's a bone-crunching hit, the user jolts in the air. I really could see this happen eventually for all sports, but the flow of football seems to lend itself particularly well to AR-tied events.
Fortbook, Fortnitemazon, Fortnimal Crossing and the Fortnite Multiverse.
The most general prediction you could make about the future of Fortnite is that it will take on a new life and become something that we spend several hours a day in, no matter what age we are. There might be a time in the future when the popular battle royale game itself is only part of the offering: Imagine social media, a marketplace, essentially its own internet all rolled into a neatly presented Fortnite package.
Want to play a game or two? Where we droppin'? See something in-game that you like? Maybe that Adidas hoodie that one player was wearing, or those Air Jordan Retro kicks? Take me to the Fortnite marketplace, and while I'm there, I can buy some groceries, light bulbs, a new headset and a gift for my mother. Want to post your awesome highlight and Victory Royale? Or even just update people about what you had for lunch, or what you think of the latest episode of "Ozark"? Post it on your Fortnite social media account. Then, head back to your Fortnite home that you expertly curated with decorations to perfectly match your personality, hang out with friends on their "islands" and play other games (available on the Epic Games store!).
To sum this prediction up with a bow, in the next five to 10 years, Fortnite will become a place that will be difficult to leave. It could have everything you are looking for to exist online. The game already has 350 million users, with an unknown amount of lapsed users. Imagine if there was a way to keep them logged in for more hours of the day. It's possible, and I would say, it's coming.