Marketing Black Hole: How Fortnite Reclaimed the Internet’s Attention

Nathan Metzger, Staff Writer

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On October 13th, a game that was thought to be dead clawed itself six feet up from its grave. Fortnite was deleted. Or so it seems, from all the joke tweets to the actual event, many people either thought there was a huge change coming, or Epic Games was packing up shop and closing their largest game. 

It may seem like this event was just the start of a new season, but there is much more going on. There is the marketing aspect, where creating this large scale event flipped the internet on its head. The event lead to the largest amount of searches for Fortnite ever, according to Google Trends. It also got many people to exploit the confusion of the people that were excited for the new season. Elon Musk tweeted, “Had to be done ur welcome.” Musk then tweeted “I had to save these kids from eternal virginity.” Leading on as a joke that he bought out and then proceeded to delete Fortnite. Then there were streamers on Twitch who were exploiting the confusion by playing videos of recaps acting like they were playing to try to attract more viewers to their livestream. 

Then there were people who were just wanting to play; there were streamers who wanted to just play and continue their work, but they did not know when the event would end, so they just waited. The confusion was so large, that it drew national attention, prompting CBS to write an article about a virtual black hole in a game that, to most people was a dead game. 

Very obviously this was done to try to revive the game; on google trends, on October 13th and 14th, Fortnite had the most search traffic since the start of the game. While many of the people dismissed the news after it had all blown over on Youtube, there were also plenty of people like Bryce Lipzinski ’22 who has stuck with the game through thick and thin. “I’ve kept with the game since the start but sort of drifted off during season ten,” Lipzinski said. “But the event got me excited, and once the game was back up I really liked the changes they’ve made to the game.”

Even though they had pulled off a massive, attention grabbing PR stunt, it still wasn’t able to bring back all of the old players like Chris Jordan ’21. “I haven’t really paid attention to the game a whole lot before then,” Jordan said. “I did hear about it; I don’t think it was a bad choice but I haven’t played it since.” While it may have not gotten him back in the game he acknowledges that it was a good move. “I don’t think it was a bad marketing thing,” Jordan said. “I think they were trying to incorporate a story more and added more to that. I think it was a good idea, it just didn’t bring me back.”

For all the effort they put in, Epic Games didn’t quite get the resurgence they wanted from the event, but it at least spread word and lead to more people looking back into the game.

So even though the black hole event that Epic Games had released to usher in their new season of the game, it didn’t quite hit the mark they wanted. They did regain a few new players from the event, but most people were either so burnt from previous seasons that they refused to get back on board with the game, and others not wanting the social backlash of playing the game that has been generalized to young children.