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Fortnite. That’s a name that must be quite familiar to you, considering that you’re reading an article regarding E-Sports and gaming on a website that revolves around both E-Sports and gaming. But you don’t have to be an E-Sports buff, an avid gamer, or even involved in the video game scene to have heard about Fortnite. Developed by Epic Games, it launched in 2017 and almost immediately became an online sensation. While it has 3 distinct game modes, it’s Battle Royale is by far the most popular. The game has achieved numerous accolades and has easily garnered millions of players. It may be true that the extreme hype that had surrounded Fortnite shortly after its release has died down, but it’s playership has in no way taken a hit. It was fine in general, but now, because of the strict lockdown that has been implemented due to COVID-19, let’s just say it has proven to be much more than a fad of the past!

Hundreds of millions of people around the world are stuck at home and practising social distancing in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further. Hence, with essentially nothing better to do, this is the perfect opportunity for so many people to turn to video games. Gaming is the perfect past-time, as it captives you, pulls you out of the deep abyss of absolute boredom, and offers a mental escape from the real world.. Subsequently, video games are riding the crest of the COVID-19 wave, and Fortnite is at the forefront of this success. Being an online game that is accessible on consoles, PCs, and in a mobile medium, Fortnite gives a player the opportunity to interact and speak with other players. While a person may be physically social distancing, a game like Fortnite gives them the chance to not only enjoy themselves but also to chat with their friends in real-time. In fact, Fortnite is also working hard to entertain their players through numerous events. People can’t currently attend a concert in real life, but that didn’t stop Epic Games from organizing an absolutely phenomenal in-game concert with Travis Scott, “Astronomical”, that also gave him a chance to release his new song “The Scotts” (with Kid Cudi). Approximately 12.3 million players came online for the concert!

It’s also interesting to realize that countries hit harder by the virus are showcasing larger increases in gaming. As Italy’s government enforces a mass quarantine, shutting down stores, restaurants and schools in an effort to slow the coronavirus pandemic, telecommunications companies have noticed a surge in traffic. And a lot of it’s coming from video games such as Fortnite “We reported an increase of more than 70% of internet traffic over our landline network, with a big contribution from online gaming such as Fortnite,” Telecom Italia Chief Executive Officer Luigi Gubitosi said on a conference call, earlier reported by Bloomberg.

In fact, Fortnite viewership on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Mixer is also rising at an unbelievable rate. Data from the online game analytics service Esports Charts show the number of viewers for Fortnite has roughly doubled over the same time a year ago. TwitchTracker, another analytics service following Amazon’s popular game streaming company it bought in 2014 for nearly $1 billion, shows an exponential increase in Fortnite viewership as well.

Fortnite itself has also seen stark increases in revenue. This is because, as the number of players increases and people is gaming more frequently, sales of dance animations, weapons, and customized skins from the Epic Games Store are also skyrocketing.

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